[Ms. Baloch, 26, a model, singer and social media celebrity, had gained notoriety in Pakistan recently because of provocative, seminude photographs of herself that she posted on social media sites, and appearances in music videos.]
By Salman Masood
Qandeel Baloch in June.
Credit M Jameel/Associated Press
The police said Ms. Baloch was apparently attacked on Friday night while she was asleep in her parents’ house in Muzaffarabad, a town on the outskirts of
in the Multan . Ms. Baloch’s brother, Waseem Ahmed Azeem, was
arrested late Saturday night in connection with her death. province of Punjab
Ms. Baloch, 26, a model, singer and social media celebrity, had gained notoriety in
recently because of provocative, seminude
photographs of herself that she posted on social media sites, and appearances
in music videos. Pakistan
Her bold persona defied the conventions of
, a deeply conservative society. She was
reviled by some in the country for being crass and vulgar, and prone to
attention-seeking stunts. But other Pakistanis admired her defiance and
independence. She attracted more than 700,000 followers on Facebook and at
least 40,000 on Twitter. Pakistan
“Qandeel was probably the first true female internet celebrity in
, in that her celebrity had nothing to do
with any achievement beyond her provocative presence on social media,” said
Hasan Zaidi, a Pakistani filmmaker and media critic. Pakistan
“It was unfathomable to a lot of Pakistanis that a real woman could be as brazen or shameless about her sexuality publicly, because her entire persona was built around flaunting her body, talking about sex and being in everyone’s face,” Mr. Zaidi said.
Ms. Baloch’s latest appearance was in a video by an unknown singer, in which she danced provocatively to a song titled “Ban.” The producers of the song anticipated that it could not be broadcast on mainstream entertainment channels and instead posted it on YouTube.
Born to a poor family from the backwaters of
Punjab, Ms. Baloch, whose real name was Fauzia
Azeem, said she had run away from home to pursue her dream of becoming a star. She
took to social media after unsuccessful efforts to enter the mainstream
In interviews, she acknowledged that she was pushing the traditional boundaries of socially acceptable behavior in
. “I know I exploited the freedom given to me
by my parents,” she said in an interview with Pakistan BBC. “But now, it is too late.”
In June, Ms. Baloch posted photographs of herself with a well-known Muslim cleric, Mufti Abdul Qavi, which attracted much attention on social media. The pictures show Ms. Baloch pouting and wearing the cleric’s hat while he, seemingly bedazzled, stares into the camera.
Many Pakistanis saw the photographs as scandalous, and Mr. Qavi was removed from his position on the country’s moon-sighting committee, which determines when Ramadan starts and ends in accordance with the Islamic lunar calendar.
On Wednesday, she found herself in the spotlight again after local media outlets reported that a man identified as her former husband claimed that he had a son with her and that he had divorced her after he could not meet her demands to provide a house and a luxury car. In response, Ms. Baloch said she had been a victim of domestic abuse.
Ms. Baloch was not shy about saying she wanted to be famous.
In a Twitter post on Wednesday, Ms. Baloch wrote: “I will fight for it. I will not give up. I will reach my goal & absolutely nothing will stop me.”
The news of her death prompted an immediate outcry on Twitter and Facebook in
, with many people condemning her killing and
praising Ms. Baloch for her irreverent and uninhibited ways. Pakistan
“Qandeel Baloch was no role model,” Sherry Rehman, an opposition politician and a former Pakistani ambassador to
, posted on Twitter. “But she deserved a
better life and death. Strongly condemn.” Washington
The killing has put the spotlight back on so-called honor killings in
. Each year, hundreds of Pakistani women are
killed by relatives angered by behavior they believe has tarnished the family’s
reputation, human-rights activists say. Pakistan
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has vowed to strengthen laws intended to prevent such killings, but critics say no concrete steps have been taken yet.
In most cases, the honor killings take place within the family, said Syeda Sughra Imam, a former senator from
Punjab who has pushed for legislation against the
“The accused and the complainant are from the same family and they forgive each other,” Ms Imam said. “No one is ever prosecuted.”
Ms. Imam’s proposed legislation calls for eliminating a “forgiveness clause” in Pakistani law that allows families to reach a financial settlement or to forgive the killer.
“This killing with impunity has to stop,” Ms. Imam said.
Asim Tanveer contributed reporting from
. Multan, Pakistan