Three people have been found guilty of murdering Pakistan’s social media celebrity Qandeel Baloch by a local court. The accused – Baloch’s bother Waseem Azeem, cousin Haq Nawaz and a taxi driver – denied the charges after an Additional District and Sessions Judge indicted them for the crime on Monday. However, the Lahore High Court has granted bail to the taxi driver, reported Dawn.
The fourth accused in the case has been declared absconding by the court. The case has been listed for hearing next on December 8. The actor-cum-model was killed by her brother in a case of honour killing on July 15. Baloch had become famous through her self-promotion and selfies posted on social media. She had tens of thousands of followers who praised her forthright attitude. Her father had filed a case against his son and said that another one of his sons had encouraged Waseem to murder her.
Baloch’s parents have refused to pardon their son for killing her and have called for capital punishment in the case. Her father Muhammad Azeem had said that he would be happy if his son and the three other accused were “hanged for their unforgivable crime”.
Baloch’s family had also been barred from legally “forgiving” her brother for strangling her to death in July. On October 7, the Pakistan Parliament had unanimously passed an anti-honour killing Bill, which introduces stricter punishments for perpetrators of such crimes. According to the legislation, relatives of a victim can issue a pardon only if a killer is sentenced to death.