‘We live in a world opposite’: Celebrities and internet users outraged after the acquittal of Qandeel Baloch’s brother – Commentary
Pakistani netizens and celebrities are outraged after the announcement of the release of the man who confessed to the murder of Qandeel Baloch. Muhammad Waseem said he murdered his sister in the name of “honour” in 2016, and after serving six years in prison he was acquitted by the Lahore High Court on February 14. This, compounded by other cases of violence against women in which perpetrators have yet to convict, has prompted netizens and celebrities such as Meesha Shafi and Osman Khalid Butt to vent their anger online.
Before her death in 2016, Baloch, 26, rose to fame for her online posts. Waseem was arrested and later sentenced to life in prison by a trial court for strangling her, brazenly telling the press he had no remorse for the murder because his behavior was “intolerable”.
Under a recent change in the law, perpetrators can no longer seek forgiveness from the victim’s family – sometimes their own family – and have their sentences commuted. However, Waseem’s sentence was handed down before the change. His lawyer said the trial court ‘abused its power’ and convicted Waseem under section 311 of the Pakistani Penal Code, dealing with fasad-fil-arz (mischief on land), even though he had been pardoned by the heirs of the deceased.
News of his acquittal spread online, angering netizens.
Actor Butt wrote in a tweet, “He has officially admitted to drugging and killing his sister. Someone please make some sense to me.”
Singer Shafi said, “we live in an opposite world” for a murderer to roam free among us.
Lawyer and digital rights activist Nighat Dad posted Waseem’s confession video and said: “This man who confessed to killing Qandeel, his own sister, is today a free man in the same country where Qandeel did not. could not live her life freely and was killed for the honor of the choices she made as a free citizen of this country.”
Academic Nida Kirmani addressed the amendment that prohibits a family’s pardon to free an abuser and asked, “How the hell was #QandeelBaloch’s brother acquitted?!”
Model Zara Peerzada shared dad’s job and slammed the ‘state machine’ for not working in favor of women.
One user warned other women against reading the news, saying, “The kind of lenient treatment given to the murderers of Noor Mukkaddam and Qandeel Baloch is the only thing that will depress you.”
Users have drawn depressing parallels between the cases.
This user has vowed to walk for Qandeel and Noor in this year’s Aurat Walk.
This news, coupled with hundreds of reports of violence against women and the possibility for perpetrators to walk away without any consequences, adds to the sense of helplessness felt by many women in Pakistan. As people on Twitter have pointed out, a public confession to murder did not ensure Qandeel Baloch’s brother was fairly punished, raising the question of what it takes for women to seek justice in this country. .