Pakistani social media celebrity Qandeel Baloch has been strangled to death in what appears to be an “honour killing”, police said on Saturday, shocking the South Asian nation where she was viewed as a controversial figure.
Baloch's raunchy social media photos – which have lead to some likening her to Kim Kardashian-West – challenged social norms in Pakistan, a deeply conservative Muslim country where women are often repressed by their family members or the community.
Punjab Police spokeswoman Nabeela Ghazanfar told Reuters that Baloch – whose real name is Fauzia Azeem – was killed in her family home in Multan, a large city in the Punjab province.
“Her father Azeem informed the police that his son Waseem has strangled Qandeel,” Ms Ghazanfar said. “Apparently, it is honour killing but further investigations would reveal the real motives behind this murder.”
Police were now looking for Waseem, who had disappeared, she added.
Local media reported that Baloch had struggled to reconcile her family's conservative values with her social media stunts and received frequent threats from the public.
More than 500 people are killed in Pakistan each year in so-called “honour killings”, usually carried out by members of the victim's family meting out punishment for bringing “shame” on their community.
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