Pakistani Police Take 'Rare Step' in Case of Murdered Star

A prominent cleric also is being investigated in the killing
By Luke Roney,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 18, 2016 3:40 PM CDT

(Newser) – Pakistan's so-called blood-money laws won't help Waseem Azeem avoid punishment in the death of his sister, 26-year-old fashion model and social media star Qandeel Baloch. That's because police took the "rare step" of becoming the main complainant in the case, the Guardian reports. Under the "sharia-inspired" blood-money laws, relatives of victims have the power to forgive killers. Azeem admitted to drugging and strangling his sister on Saturday because she "brought dishonor on the family name." It was Baloch's father who filed a police report against Azeem and another son, Muhammad Aslam, after his daughter's death, Reuters reports. However, per the Guardian, some were concerned that Azeem would ultimately get away with the killing even though his father had vowed to press charges.

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Also being investigated in the case is Abdul Qavi, according to reports. According to the Guardian, Baloch's mother says the prominent Muslim cleric encouraged Azeem. Last month, Reuters reports, Baloch posted photos to social media in which she posed with Qavi, who was subsequently censured. Qavi has denied involvement and said he had "forgiven her," though he also said her death should be an example to others who attempt to "malign the clergy," per Reuters. As for Aslam, Baloch's father says Aslam encouraged his brother to kill their sister, but police are not commenting on his alleged role. According to Reuters and the BBC, Baloch's father told a local English-language newspaper that his daughter was the family's breadwinner: "She was my son, not a daughter. I have lost my son. She supported all of us, including my son who killed her." (Read more Pakistan stories.)

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