Qandeel Baloch, a Pakistani social media star who became famous and, in her home country, infamous for her outspoken feminist beliefs and criticism of religion, was murdered Friday by her brother in what local police are calling an honor killing. She was 25.
Baloch, a model, singer, and media personality who had more than 700,000 followers on Facebook, 49K on Twitter, and 49K on Instagram, was known for posting provocative photos to her social media accounts and in recent months for her increasingly vocal political views. She became internationally known last month after posting a photo of herself and Mufti Abdul Qavi, a high-ranking religious leader, to her Instagram feed, in which she joked about drinking and smoking during the Ramadan fasting period. Davi was subsequently suspended from a religious committee that determines the end of Ramadan, and Baloch became the object of death threats and public outrage.
Despite that, she continued to be outspoken in her beliefs, saying in one recent Facebook post that “At least international media can see what i am up to. How i am trying to change the typical orthodox mindset of people who don’t wanna come out of their shells of false beliefs and old practices.” The post and her Facebook page have since been taken down.
The BBC reports that Baloch was strangled in her sleep by her brother following an argument over the photos and statements she posted publicly. Media reports that her brother is still at large, but that her parents have been taken into custody.