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Pakistani brother, on life sentence for honor killing of model sister, acquitted by court

A Pakistani man, who was serving a life sentence for killing his sister Qandeel Baloch, a social media celebrity, in 2016, was acquitted of murder by the Lahore High Court

Feb 15, 2022
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Pakistani brother, on life sentence for honor killing of model sister, acquitted by court (Photo: Dawn)

A Pakistani man, who was serving a life sentence for killing his sister Qandeel Baloch, a social media celebrity, in 2016, was acquitted of murder by the Lahore High Court. The acquittal came after his parents pardoned him under the country's Islamic law. 

In 2016, Muhammad Waseem confessed to drugging and strangling his 26-year-old famous sister Fouzia Azeem, popularly known as Qandeel Baloch, for, what he said, posting objectionable photos on Facebook, disgracing the family's honor. He was arrested by police in the same year.

In 2019, he was given life imprisonment by a trial court. Others accused in the case were acquitted by the court. Waseem, however, challenged the verdict in the Lahore High Court. 

On Monday, the high court acquitted him after Baloch's parents pardoned his son and retracted from their earlier statements against Waseem,  based upon which he was sentenced earlier. Under Pakistani law, a convict can be acquitted in cases involving honor killings if his parents pardon him.

All 35 prosecution witnesses turned hostile and he was pardoned by legal heirs (parents) of Qandeel, reports mentioned. Earlier, just after the killing, Baloch’s parents initially vowed tough punishment for his son. 

Baloch’s bold social media posts, including videos and pictures, were considered inappropriate in a conservative society like Pakistan. Every year, over 1000 women are killed in honor killings cases by their male relatives. 

Her case sparked the debate around the issue of honor killing in the country, which then led to the passage of an amendment in the country’s penal code, permitting police to become the main complainant instead of the family under earlier provisions.

(SAM)

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