The inspiring Qandeel Baloch, who was a model, actress, social media star and feminist activist was brutally strangled to death by her brother Waseem Azeem, who confessed that he choked her in an‘honour’ killing.
What shame could she possibly bring that could have justified her brutal death?
Ms. Baloch, whose real name was Fouzia Azeem rose to prominence despite being from a humble background and went on do what she wanted, on her own terms. She refused to cling to society’s confinement to women and demanded a change in the male-dominant society she was living in.
Posting content related to beauty and glamour and regular selfies, it was said that she exceeded her boundaries of what was considered tolerable for women in Pakistan. She would post pictures that were considered to be ‘unacceptable’ and ‘bold’, wearing ‘revealing’ clothes being one, and fearlessly encouraged people to abandon old practices and traditions. While she was lauded by the broad-minded, she was criticized by the orthodox for the contents of her posts and videos.
Shortly before her death, she remarked, “I am a modern day feminist. I believe in equality. I need not to choose what type of women should be. I don’t think there is any need to label ourselves just for sake of society.” Though it was only the beginning of Baloch’s journey, she had inspired young women, not only from Pakistan, but also in different places around the world. Pakistan’s prime minister Nawaz Sharif enunciated: “There is no honor in honor killing; in fact, there can be nothing more degrading than to engage in brutal murder and to refer to it as honor.”
The grim reality remains, nevertheless, that death is the price you pay for being unapologetically yourself. A Feminist hero, may her soul rest in peace.
About The Author
(Department of English and Cultural Studies, PU Campus)