Pakistani fashion model Qandeel Baloch, who recently stirred controversy by posting pictures of herself with a Muslim cleric on social media, was strangled to death by her brother in a suspected "honor killing," police say. Her parents told police one of her six brothers strangled her to death Friday night as she slept in the family's home in Multan, a police spokeswoman tells the AP. She says police are searching for the suspect. Baloch, 26, whose real name was Fauzia Azeem, recently offended many conservatives by posting pictures of herself with Mufti Qavi, a prominent cleric. She said the two of them enjoyed soft drinks and cigarettes together during the daylight hours in the holy month of Ramadan, when practicing Muslims fast from dawn to dusk.
The pictures and allegations caused a scandal in conservative Pakistan, and the government removed Qavi from the official committee that determines when Ramadan starts and ends. Earlier this month, Baloch sought protection from the government, saying she was receiving anonymous death threats. The BBC notes that Baloch—who became known nationally after this video of her asking "How em looking" went viral—was nicknamed "Pakistan's Kim Kardashian" and was frequently abused online for behavior deemed immodest and for her criticism of Pakistan's patriarchal society. In one of her final Facebook posts, she described herself as an "inspiration to those ladies who are treated badly and dominated by the society." (Last month, a mother in Lahore burned her daughter to death for eloping.)