The society likes categorising women into virgins, sluts, whores etc. and if women dare to blur the lines between these categories and refuse to confirm to the rules and regulations of the society, it’s probable that they’d meet the same fate as Qandeel Baloch.
Baloch was strangled to death at the hands of her own brother because apparently she “dishonoured” the family by her explicit and bold content on social media. Yes, a family “dishonoured” by a daughter’s choice to not hold herself back, to be ambitious, to be free and now “honoured” by a son who’s a murderer?
In the wake of the news of Qandeel Baloch’s apparent killing on Saturday, Twitterati mourned, many tweets aired with RIP under the hashtag #QandeelBaloch. Ironically, these are the same people who slut-shamed her.
Fauzia Azeem, popularly known as Qandeel Baloch was born into an ordinary and socially conservative family. She married young and had a son. She walked away from that marriage when it didn’t work out. She wanted to stand on her own feet and wanted to do something for herself. This dream costed her life.
Her reel and real life was always full of controversies. Even her recent music video “BAN”, in which she starred in alongside an upcoming singer Aryan Khan, was touching on her status as a controversial social media icon, and was “provocative” given Pakistan’s conservative standards for entertainment.
Her confidence agitated people in Pakistan, her new-found conscience to represent the voiceless women in the country and the guts to live on her own terms scared off the society. More and more progressive people in the country were agreeing and accepting her style of living. She was flying high but everything that flies high falls with a thud. The same happened.
The condition of women in South Asian countries, especially countries like Pakistan has always been a matter of scrutiny. Even a hint of modernity and voicing of opinions by women makes the men feel a need to reiterate their “masculinity”. The incident does nothing but pose a dirty patriarchal picture of the country and it’s intricate system to control women’s sexuality. A woman’s choices bring dishonour and if the same thing is done by the man of the family it is acceptable? What if women killed their brothers, fathers or sons if they visited brothels or prostitutes in the name of honour?
Also, every time the term “honour killing” is used, the murder of women is viewed through the eyes of their killers who try to justify the killing by giving so called “honourable” motives.
Coming back to Baloch’s killing, the whole issue just highlights the nonchalance regarding such killings in Pakistan. It is almost every day that you hear about women being murdered in Pakistan in the name of honour – by an uncle, a husband, a brother or a mother. Even the laws in the country are highly favourable to the alleged.
Pakistan’s laws do not have any enforcing punishment in case of ‘honour killing’, if the accused is able to get a pardon from the family. The accused herein, being a blood relative can easily avail a pardon and get away with it, justifying what he did.
The law, which essentially is the Islamic Sharia law of Diyat, favours the men attacking women as a result of which many lives are lost every year. Women are killed if they go against the will of their families in any way in the name of honour.
Keeping all this in mind the question now is, will there be any more Qandeel Balochs? After the fate she met, will any other woman in Pakistan dare to raise a voice? With her death being celebrated in Pakistan, will any woman ever think of living on her terms?
Guess she has just left these questions for us to answer.
In life she ruled social media, in death she does the same.
For one last time!
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