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Qandeel Baloch: Brother of murdered social media star jailed

Category: Gender based violence 

The brother of Pakistani social media star Qandeel Baloch has been jailed for life, three years after her murder.

Waseem confessed to strangling Ms Baloch, 26, in July 2016. At the time, he said it was because the star had brought shame on the family.

He was reported to be upset by pictures she had uploaded to social media.

On Friday, a court acquitted six other men charged in connection with the killing, including religious scholar, Mufti Abdul Qavi.

Ms Baloch's family had initially pointed the finger at the mufti, saying he had instigated the murder after he was criticised for taking selfies with the social media star a month before her death.


He has always denied any involvement.


Her brother Waseem is able to appeal against the sentence. His lawyer, Sardar Mehmood, told news agency AFP that he hoped Waseem Baloch would be "acquitted by a high court".

Another brother, Arif, has been declared a fugitive in relation to Ms Baloch's death, the court said.

What was the reaction?

At the court in Multan, there were scenes of celebration over the acquittals - and tears over the conviction.

Photos shared on social media show Mufti Qavi being showered in rose petals as he left court, his supporters overjoyed with the verdict.

Meanwhile, Ms Baloch's mother wept tears for her son.

"He is innocent," Anwar Mai told reporters before the sentence was handed down. She and her husband tried to free Waseem last month, saying they forgave their son for killing their daughter.

Online, there was anger for Ms Baloch. Many described their reaction to the verdict as "bittersweet", and expressed fear that - despite the conviction - things may not change for women in Pakistan.

"It took three years to get a judgement for her brother," Sanam Maher - the author of a book on Ms Qandeel - tweeted.

"I wonder how long it will take us to recognise that we shouldn't let ourselves off the hook, that our social structure is rotten & works against people like #Qandeel who wish to make something of themselves on their own terms," she added.

According to the World Economic Forum, Pakistan is the second worst country in the world in terms of gender parity. Women hold fewer than 7% of managerial positions.

Early marriage remains a serious issue in Pakistan, with 21% of girls in the country marrying before the age of 18, and 3% marrying before 15.

More than five million primary school age children in Pakistan are not in school, most of them are girls, according to Human Rights Watch.

There were 35,935 female suicides between 2014 and 2016 according to figures by White Ribbon Pakistan.


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