Pakistani model and Internet sensation Qandeel Baloch was reportedly murdered by her brother at her home on Saturday. Though there is no confirmation regarding the motive of the attack, Pakistani media has termed it as honour killing.
Baloch was an Internet sensation, one of the top 10 most searched people in Pakistan and though there were many who condemned the nature and content of the videos that Baloch shared on social media platforms, there was no denying her popularity in the rather conservative country. Most of her videos – wherein more often than not the model would be in bed, wearing exposing clothes and recording provocative messages – would go viral.
What is interesting is that browsing her official Facebook, Baloch’s videos aside, or even along with them, the model talks about the feminist fight to break stereotypes and the need for women to have the right to do and say whatever they want without encountering censure from society. One such video was a podcast that Baloch shared on her Facebook page on July 4, which talks about her as an Internet sensation and the social contrast she represents that currently exists in Pakistan. On the one hand, there was a huge demand for her Facebook page to be banned, on the other she was regularly invited on prime time television shows.
In the post, Baloch had written:
“Atleast international media can see what i am upto. How i am trying to change the typical orthodox mindset of people who don’t wanna come out of their shells of false beliefs and old practices.
Here this one is for those people only.
Thankyou my believers and supporters for understanding the message i try to convey through my bold posts and videos. It’s time to bring a change because the world is changing. let’s open our minds and live in present. ??
?#?QandeelBaloch? ?#?TheSensation? ?#?BBC? ?#?BBCUK? ?#?Podcast?”
In one other post Baloch wrote: “No Matter how many times i will be pushed down under,,But I m Fighter I will Bounce back..#Qandeel #Baloch is “One Women Army”.. #Qandeel #Baloch inspiration to those ladies who are treated badly and dominated by the society..I will Keep On Achieving and I know You will Keep On Hating..DAMN but Who Cares”.
Baloch lived and thrived on controversy. Her videos, which apparently irked many who called for them to be banned, were the very men who gave them thousands of views. Honour killing in Pakistan – much like India – is unfortunately common. Baloch had apparently feared for her life and had asked for security, saying she’d been getting death threats, especially after a recent picture of hers with Pakistani cleric Mufti Abdul Qavi at an Iftaar party went viral online.