More DW Blogs DW.COM

Women Talk Online

A forum for women to talk to women

Pakistani celebrity Qandeel Baloch: Yet another victim of Honor Killing

Social media celebrity Qandeel Baloch, who was strangled in what appeared to be an "honour killing," in Multan, Pakistan, is pictured in a selfie on her Facebook page. (Baloch/Facebook/via Reuters)

Social media celebrity Qandeel Baloch, who was strangled in what appeared to be an “honour killing,” in Multan, Pakistan, is pictured in a selfie on her Facebook page. (Baloch/Facebook/via Reuters)

Pakistani model Qandeel Baloch, touted as the Pakistani ‘Kim Kardashian’ was loved and loathed for her controversial comments and viral videos. Last week, she was murdered by her brother because he believed that she had been dishonoring the ‘Baloch’ name. 

Qandeel Baloch, whose real name was Fauzia Azeen was ruthlessly murdered by her own brother. The inexcusable reason: Baloch had dared to live life on her own terms. She spoke her mind and did not shy away from making bold comments on cricketers, politicians, religion and the patriarchal society she lived in.


She rose to fame through her ‘immodest’ video clips that she shot on her mobile phone. The videos were delivered to millions on the internet straight from her bedroom. It was through these provocative videos that many believed that Baloch had brought dishonor to herself, her family, the Pakistani women and the nation.



She became an unparalleled cultural icon in a country where she defied all the norms that the society imposed on her. She was sexy and provocative and insisted on being heard and seen in a nation where the conservatives wanted neither of it. She was mocked for her silliness, loathed for her boldness and silenced for her rebelliousness. But, it is precisely these reasons why a large section of the society also admired her. Baloch did not skirt around the issues of female sexuality and desire. She was seeking revenge. In her own words, Baloch said in an interview that her boldness was her revenge to her country.



She was a lot of things but she wasn’t a hypocrite and this is precisely why she made many people uncomfortable. She made conservative women uncomfortable because she dared to bold and brazen. She made conservative men uncomfortable because they were perturbed by her desire and her courage to be who she wanted to be. She was even shrugged off by the elites who had to guard their liberal views and draw a clear line by portraying her as ‘silly’ or ‘narcissist’. Baloch made no qualms about being ambitious and doing whatever she needed to in order to achieve her goals.



Her death has now sparked an outrage in the nation when thousands poured into the streets to hold a candlelight vigil in her memory. This is a good sign because Qandeel had only just begun. Her death now serves as an ugly reminder of the society that suppresses women who don’t live by its rules. And more and more women are now questioning the patriarchy around them.



Baloch was supporting her family financially including the brother who thought it fit to strangle her because she was bringing dishonor upon them. Her attempt to educate the society around her got her into trouble and cost her life. But she was a trailblazer who has paved the path for many young women in the country who idolized her.



Let us hope that her death isn’t soon forgotten and Baloch doesn’t just become a name scribbled in a long list of women who were silenced. Let us remember her as a hero of girl power. “I am a social media sensation, I am a fashion icon,” she said. “I don’t know how many girls have felt support through my persona. I’m a girl power. So many girls tell me I’m a girl power, and yes, I am.”

Author: Roma Rajpal Weiß (Twitter: @romarajpal)

Editor: Marjory Linardy




Not secure in the ‘land of pure’

Sadia, a cousin, was set to marry another cousin the next day after her father had resisted the proposal for a year. But the father then shot her dead less than 24 hours before the big day because it was just too much for his “honor” to digest. The mullah culture is a constant threat to new and secular feminism in Pakistan, writes feminist writer Ayesha Hasan. (From March 17, 2016)

Slain in the name of honor

“Don’t kill me please… I have done nothing wrong… I was just enjoying the rain, I don’t want to die… please … for God’s sake, brother, don’t kill me!” I was begging and trying to hide myself behind my mother who was also begging for my life. She was asking my cousins to pardon me for bringing shame to the family. (From July 4, 2013)

Beating, and then beating about the bush

“This group should be banned! These idiot mullahs!” He remarked in a disgruntled tone, as he scrolled through the television channels, with a beer can in one hand and a TV remote control in another. She confidently nodded in agreement. I remained silent, but they heard me breathe a heavy sigh. I was the guest, he and his wife the hosts. In such awkward situations, I keep my opinions to myself. (From June 21, 2016)


19.07.2016 | 9:30