Pak state appeals SC against brother’s
acquittal in Qandeel Baloch murder

Qandeel Baloch

ISLAMABAD: Parliamentary Secretary for Law Maleeka Bokhari said on Thursday the Pakistani state had challenged in the Supreme Court the acquittal of the brother for the murder of social media star Qandeel Baloch.

Qandeel Baloch was strangled to death in 2016 by her brother Muhammad Waseem, who described her suggestive behaviour on social media as “intolerable.” He was acquitted by the Lahore High Court (LHC) last month after the court allowed their mother to pardon him.

Qandeel Baloch

In response to public outrage over the murder, Pakistan passed legislation supposedly closing a legal loophole that allowed family members to forgive those behind so-called “honor killings,” imposing a mandatory life sentence instead.

But after less than six years in prison, an appeal judge ruled that Baloch’s murder could not be defined as a crime of honor, dismissing her brother’s confession.

“State has filed an appeal against the acquittal in Qandeel Baloch case. The Hon [Honorable] supreme Court of Pakistan has an opport [opportunity] to set an imp [important] precedent in cases of such brutal murders,” Bokhari said in a Twitter post. “The PTI Government led by PM @ImranKhanPTI continues to stand for protection of rights of women & girls.”

The case became the most high-profile “honor killing” of recent years — where women are dealt lethal punishment by male relatives for purportedly bringing “shame” to the reputation of a family.

Policemen escort hand-cuffed Muhammad Waseem, center, brother of slain social media celebrity Qandeel Baloch, as he leaves the court after the verdict in Multan on September 27, 2019.

In Baloch’s case, her parents initially insisted their son would be given no absolution, but later changed their minds and said they wanted him to be forgiven. A lawyer for the mother told media last month she had given “her consent” to pardon him.