'State’s Disinterest In Pursuing Case Led To Acquittal Of Qandeel Baloch’s Brother'

'State’s Disinterest In Pursuing Case Led To Acquittal Of Qandeel Baloch’s Brother'
The state was reportedly not interested in pursuing the Qandeel Baloch murder case further when the convict, the victim’s brother, filed an appeal against life imprisonment. A source privy to the developments in the case said that the state, despite being party to the case, was only active until the conviction of the murderer in 2019 and then lost interest — which is why no effort was made to ensure that the convict completes his sentence.

In September 2019 Qandeel's brother Waseem was sentenced to life in prison by a court in Multan after he confessed to murdering his sister in the name of 'honour.'  The government took up the case against him after Qandeel's parents stated that they had pardoned her brother and wanted him acquitted.

Having served less than six years of his life sentence, Qandeel's brother has now been released from prison. The lawyer of Waseem Khan had argued before the Lahore High Court (LHC) on the basis of an affidavit submitted by Qandeel’s parents, which stated that they had “forgiven” the accused. Calling upon the court to quash the sentence earlier handed out to Waseem Khan, his lawyer said, “The witnesses in the case have also deviated from their statements in the trial court.” After hearing the argument, Justice Sohail Nasir of the LHC’s Multan Bench acquitted Waseem Khan in the case.

Several month's after Qandeel's murder, the Anti-Honour Killing Laws (Criminal Amendment Bill) 2015 was passed, which prevents perpetrators of killings in the name of 'honour' from walking free even if they are pardoned by the victim's family.  In response to an earlier appeal from Qandeel's family, the presiding judge dismissed their motion on the grounds of this law.

The acquittal has sparked condemnation from many across the country, who viewed the model's life and death as watershed moments for Pakistan.

Chairperson, National Commission for Human Rights Chairperson Rabiya Javeri Agha responded to the news of Waseem's acquittal saying, "Honour killings are on the rise in Pakistan ... is it a surprise?"


"This acquittal has happened even when law was amended followed by Qandeel’s cold blooded murder and state vowed to become party in the case. This is the sorry state of not so sorry State…we are sorry Qandeel," wrote lawyer Nighat Dad.


Qandeel Baloch Baloch, whose real name was Fauzia Azeem, had become known for being a social media celebrity who challenged conservative norms in Pakistan. Her brother Waseem Khan murdered her in 2016 in what was described as an “honour killing” after she had taken photos of herself with religious cleric Mufti Abdul Qavi. In 2019, the other suspects, including Mufti Abdul Qavi, Qandeel’s other brother Aslam and three other individuals had been released without charges.