Man Who Murdered Own Sister Freed on Parents' Pardon

Model Qandeel Baloch fell victim to 'honor killing'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 27, 2019 8:02 AM CDT
Updated Feb 16, 2022 2:17 AM CST
Verdict Is In on Murder of 'Pakistan's Kim Kardashian'
In this June 28, 2016, file photo, Pakistani social media star Qandeel Baloch speaks during a press conference in Lahore, Pakistan.   (AP Photo/M. Jameel, File)

Update: The parents of the Pakistani man who fatally strangled his own sister in a 2016 "honor killing" have pardoned the man. Muhammed Waseem confessed to the slaying and was convicted of murder, but a court ruled Monday he can be freed due to his parents' pardon, USA Today reports. Qandeel Baloch was a fashion model known as "Pakistan's Kim Kardashian" who rose to fame after auditioning for Pakistan Idol, that country's version of American Idol, and had hundreds of thousands of fans on social media. Her mother says she still mourns her daughter's loss but is happy her son will be released. Waseem's attorney tells the BBC his client's confession was coerced, and he recently retracted it. Human rights activists spoke out against his release, wondering why such a "loophole" exists, the Washington Post reports. Our original story from Sept. 27, 2019, follows:

He was accused of strangling his own sister to death, a killing that led to calls of revenge from his father and spurred a renewed debate about "honor killings" in Pakistan. Now, a verdict: Reuters reports Muhammad Waseem was found guilty on Friday of murdering 26-year-old fashion model Qandeel Baloch (real name Fauzia Azeem) and sentenced to life in prison, per his lawyer. Six others also accused of being tied to Baloch's murder—including two other brothers, a cousin, a Muslim cleric, a driver, and a neighbor—have been acquitted. Waseem confessed shortly after the 2016 murder that the risque social media posts of his outspoken sister, known as "Pakistan's Kim Kardashian," had prompted him to kill her. The BBC notes that Waseem backpedaled on his on-camera confession during his trial and said it had been given under duress.

The case brought new attention to the hundreds (maybe even thousands) of women killed each year in Pakistan by relatives who think shame has been brought upon the family because of them. In Baloch's case, she riled many in the conservative nation by posting provocative videos and pics online, including posing with well-known cleric Mufti Abdul Qavi; Qavi was one of the six acquitted. Some in Baloch's family blamed him for instigating the killing, saying he'd been upset by all the attention his photos with Baloch brought. As for the initial outrage Baloch's parents felt toward their son for killing her, that appears to have passed: The BBC noted last month they've apparently forgiven him and have been lobbying to set him free. Waseem's lawyer says he'll appeal. (More murder stories.)

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