Pakistan releases killer of social media star Qandeel Baloch after less than 6 years as his parents have forgiven him.
Strangled: July 15, 2016
Children: 1 son
Perpetrator: Her brother Muhammad Waseem Azeem
Fouzia Azeem grew up in a conservative and poor family with 6 brothers and 2 sisters in Shah Sadar Din in the Punjab province of Pakistan. Fouzia wanted to be a singer and actress. At the age of 17 Fouzia had to marry Aashiq Hussain, her mother's cousin. Together the couple had 1 son. The marriage was violent, Aashiq beat and tortured Fouzia. After two years of marriage, Fouzia fled her husband, leaving him along with her child, and left for Karachi to start a new life.
Fouzia Azeem became nationally known under her artist name Qandeel Baloch because of her audition on Pakistan Idol and her activities on social media where she shared her life in daily vlogs. She was very popular on social media in Pakistan, but she also had many enemies because of her free lifestyle and controversial statements and actions. For example, she had announced that she would strip if Pakistan won over India in cricket.
The stripping didn't happen because Pakistan lost the match, but Qandeel Baloch's name as a social media influencer, actress and singer was established. She was invited to participate in the Indian television program Bigg Boss 10 and she was eager to make her debut on Indian television.
On July 15, 2016, her brother Muhammad Waseem Azeem put an end to all of Qandeel Baloch's ambitious plans and dreams while she was at her parents' house visiting them. He strangled her while she was sleeping. In the media, he stated that he was not happy about his sister's showbiz career and her modeling and that he had given her a pill before strangling her. According to him, she had disgraced the honor of the family. He never expressed any remorse and he was sentenced to life in prison in September 2019.
In February 2022, Muhammad Waseem Azeem was released by Pakistani authorities because his parents forgave him for the murder. Mohammad served less then six years in prison for the honor killing of his sister.
What is an honour killing?
An honour killing is a murder in the name of honour. If a brother murders his sister to restore family honour, it is an honour killing. According to activists, the most common reasons for honour killings are as the victim:
Human rights activists believe that 100,000 honour killings are carried out every year, most of which are not reported to the authorities and some are even deliberately covered up by the authorities themselves, for example because the perpetrators are good friends with local policemen, officials or politicians. Violence against girls and women remains a serious problem in Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Iran, Serbia and Turkey.