LHC acquits Qandeel Baloch’s killer after family pardon

    Qandeel Baloch’s brother and killer, Muhammad Wasim, was on Monday acquitted by the Lahore High Court (LHC) in the model/actor’s high-profile murder case.

    As per the details, the acquittal came after Qandeel’s mother submitted to the court an affidavit stating that the culprit had been pardoned by the family.

    In September 2019, a court in Multan had awarded Wasim life imprisonment for the “honour killing” of his sister.

    Judge Imran Shafi of the court, while announcing the court verdict, had acquitted four other accused, including prominent cleric Mufti Abdul Qavi.

    Qandeel Baloch’s dead body was found in her ancestral home in Multan on July 15, 2016.

    The murder had shaken the entire nation and soon her brother had been arrested. Wasim had confessed to killing the social media celebrity for “honour”.

    “I strangled her to death for bringing disgrace to the family,” he had said.

    The murder was widely condemned by media celebrities and people around the globe,  however, some had supported the killing “as a result of Qandeel’s immoral behaviour”.

    Qandeel’s father, who was the complainant in the case against his son, had later filed an affidavit stating that he had pardoned the accused and would have no objection to his release on bail.

    The trial court had, however, rejected the request.

    According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), around 1,000 women are killed on the pretext of “honour” every year in Pakistan.

    Despite the passage of a landmark law to punish the perpetrators and curb the crime, this number has not decreased. Such crimes and cases remain pervasive because, even though it has criminalised “honour killings”, the state has failed to detach the label of “honour” from a woman’s right to make her own choices.

    Indeed, using the term “honour killing” itself to describe such murders, as pointed out by Justice Qazi Faez Isa of the Supreme Court (SC), inadvertently justifies this appalling mindset.

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