June 26, 2022

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Qandeel Baloch: Court Acquits Brother Of Pakistan Star’s Murder

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The brother of Pakistani social media star Qandeel Baloch has been acquitted of her murder.

Muhammed Waseem was sentenced to life in prison after confessing to killing Ms Baloch – dubbed the Kim Kardashian of Pakistan – in July 2016.

At the time, he said it was because the star had brought shame on the family.

The court order has yet to be made public, but lawyers said it came after Waseem retracted his confession and his parents called for his release.

Baloch’s 2016 murder sent shockwaves through Pakistan and hit headlines around the world.

The 26-year-old had become a household name in Pakistan after posting sometimes raunchy photographs, comments and videos on social media sites, on which she had hundreds of thousands of followers.

She was well aware of the opposition she faced in the conservative Muslim country but was unapologetic.

Her brother Waseem said he had drugged and then strangled her to death “for dishonouring the Baloch name”. He was sentenced in late 2019 to life in prison for her murder.

A lawyer for Waseem told the BBC that the decision to acquit him came after his parents said they had forgiven him, and after Waseem filed a claim that his confession had been coerced by police.

Pakistani actor Osman Khalid Butt, who starred in a TV drama about the social media star’s life, told BBC Asian Network Newsbeat that the ruling brought the campaign for justice for Ms Baloch back to square one.

“How are we going to change misogynistic mindsets on a societal level, when verdicts like these clearly showcase that the law is not on our side?” he questioned.

Waseem’s mother, Anwar Bibi, welcomed the ruling, telling reporters: “I am thankful to the court, which ordered the release of my son at our request.”

But, she added, “we are still sad for our daughter’s loss”.

Waseem is expected to be released later this week.

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