Pakistani model strangled by brother in ‘honor killing’ after offending Islamic conservatives, police say

Qandeel Baloch speaks at a June 28 news conference in Lahore.
(M. Jameel / AP Photo)

Pakistani fashion model Qandeel Baloch, who recently stirred controversy by posting pictures of herself with a Muslim cleric on social media, was strangled by her brother, police said Saturday.

Her parents told police one of her six brothers strangled her as she slept in the family’s home in Multan, police spokeswoman Nabila Ghazanfar told the Associated Press. She said police are searching for the suspect.

Baloch, whose real name was Fauzia Azeem, was little-known until recently, when she offended many conservatives by posting pictures of herself with Mufti Qavi, a prominent cleric. She said they enjoyed soft drinks and cigarettes during the daylight hours in the holy month of Ramadan, when practicing Muslims fast from dawn to dusk.

The pictures and allegations caused a scandal in conservative Pakistan, and the government removed Qavi from the official moon-sighting committee that determines when Ramadan starts and ends in accordance with the Islamic lunar calendar.

Baloch had said Qavi told her he wanted to see her face before the committee met to determine the Eid al-Fitr holiday marking the end of Ramadan, which was observed earlier this month.


Qavi denied the allegations, saying he met with her only to discuss the teachings of Islam.

Earlier this month, Baloch sought protection from the government, saying she was receiving anonymous death threats.

Hundreds of Pakistani women are killed by family members each year in so-called honor killings, which are seen as punishment for violating conservative norms.


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4:25 a.m.: This article was updated with additional details and background.

This article was originally published at 1:35 a.m.