Toronto, July 17: Miss Pakistan World Anzhelika Tahir, expressing shock over the murder of Pakistani model Qandeel Baloch by her brother in Multan, has called upon the women of her country to join hands to stop the barbaric practice of honour killings.
The Toronto-based reigning beauty queen, Anzhelika said:
“I’m so sad that such a horrible thing has happened. No matter what Qandeel’s choices were, murder was not the answer.
“Her brother should be brought to justice. I hope the women of Pakistan will unite to make a collective statement against honour killings.”
About Qandeel’s provocative lifestyle in a conservative society, Miss Pakistan World said: “Baloch was no different than Kim Kardashian, and everyone and anyone can live howsoever they want to.
“She is not to be blamed for her choice of lifestyle. Anyone has the right to choose what they want to do with their life.”
Killed in her own Home
Pakistan’s ‘Kim Kardashian’ – social media star Qandeel Baloch and model-cum-actress was strangled in an apparent ‘honour killing’ by her own brother, in her own home, because she posted “shameful” pictures on Facebook.
Qandeel’s brother Waseem Azeem, on Sunday, confessed to drugging and strangling her to death for “family honour” in Multan. He said people had taunted him over the photos and that he found the social embarrassment unbearable.
Qandeel was the main breadwinner for the family of 15, yet she was murdered for the sake of her family’s honour.
“I was determined either to kill myself or kill her.
““Money matters, but family honour is more important”, Waseem told AP.
The 26 year old, who had built a modelling career on the back of her social media fame was found dead on Saturday, at her family home in Multan.
Qandeel had started to use her social media fame to fight and break social taboos for women empowerment. In her Facebook posts, she spoke of trying to change “the typical orthodox mindset” of people in Pakistan.
Qandeel, whose real name was Fauzia Azeem was a social media celebrity but really stirred a lot of controversy after she posted selfies online, taken with a prominent Muslim cleric.
This happened during the holy month of Ramadan, when Qandeel had apparently met with Mufti Adbul Qavi in a Karachi hotel room.
She posted online that the two had enjoyed soft drinks and cigarettes together before sunset – which is sacrilege according to Muslim holy customs of Ramadan – when practising, they fast from dawn to dusk.
In one image, Qandeel is seen wearing the Mufti’s fur-lined topy.
The Mufti however has maintained that he had only met with Qandeel to discuss the teachings of Islam. Yet he was suspended from the moon-sighting committee that determines the month of Ramadan.
As this scandal broke, Qandeel had posted about receiving death threats and asked for Interior Ministry protection.
Anzhelika said Qandeel was right in seeking security from the government because of threats to her life.
“Pakistan is a different country. Because she was a social media star, the government should have provided at least minimum security.
“But in this case, her own brother murdered her. There is nothing much the government could have done as it was in her own home.”
Urging Pakistani men to learn to tolerate independent and assertive women, the Miss Pakistan World said that Pakistani men should know that the world is changing and more and more women are in control of their lives.
Talking about Qandeel, she said “tomorrow there will be another Qandeel” and that men would have no choice but to “tolerate independent women”.
Qandeel had already become famous and notoriety came with it, when her social media postings were being increasingly viewed as raunchy and scandalous by many in deeply conservative Pakistan.
She was a power-house with 40,000 Twitter followers and more than 700,000 on Facebook.
Qandeel had earlier, in May 2016, promised to perform a public striptease if the Pakistani cricket team won against arch-rivals, India. When Pakistan lost, Qandeel instead posted a video, dancing for the Indian team wearing a bikini.
She had also filmed for a music video in short skirt, bare legs and high-heels.
Anzhelika said young Pakistani women shouldn’t be discouraged by what happened to Baloch.
“My suggestion to Pakistani girls is to follow their heart. Dream and live your life.
Qandeel lived her life her way. Things will change. Decades from now, it will be a woman’s world. It is women like Qandeel who have brought a change. May she rest in peace.”
Miss Pakistan pageant founder Sonia Ahmed said that there is a problem in the system of Pakistan and women are subjected to “honour killing everyday. This is not the first time. Only difference is that Qandeel was well known in social media…”.
“But that’s your culture”…I can assure you murder is not my culture, nor my religion. It’s patriarchy. #QandeelBaloch
By Shalini Singh (Melbourne) with Gurmukh Singh (India)
Feature image – Pakistani social media celebrity Qandeel Baloch allegedly murdered by her brother – Twitter @QandeelQuebee