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News Analysis |

A judicial magistrate in Multan on Monday extended the judicial remand of cleric Mufti Abdul Qavi for seven days in connection with the ongoing investigations into Qandeel Baloch murder case. Earlier, Mufti Qavi was produced before the court amid strict security following the completion of his 12-day remand.

During Monday’s hearing, the public prosecutor pleaded before the court to extend Qavi’s remand. The plea was granted and Qavi was sent on remand until November 20th.

Police had included Mufti Qavi’s name as a suspect in the murder case on the request of Qandeel’s father, Muhammad Azeem who in a statement before the police suspected the cleric’s possible role in her murder.

Who was Qandeel Baloch?

The complexity has been increased by the alleged involvement of the Mufti who seems to have probable cause of wanting Qandeel dead after the leaked pictures and video with her ruined his ‘reputation’ and got him fired.

Fouzia Azeem AKA Qandeel Baloch was a Pakistani actress, model and social media celebrity who rose to prominence due to her notorious videos on Facebook. She made her first television appearance when she appeared as a contestant on Pakistan Idol. She capitalized on this audition and the resulting fame to release a series of videos which made her one of the ten most searched people on the internet in Pakistan.

She was both hailed and criticized for her ‘bold’ and sometimes controversial videos and posts. Qandeel Baloch’s expression of love for Imran Khan and her attending Khan’s multiple jalsas added to her fame. PTI supporters started calling her a ‘N-League goon’ for allegedly trying to embroil Khan into a ‘controversy’. She also made suggestive videos offering to strip if Shahid Afridi won the cricket match against India at the T20 World Cup in 2016.

Read more: My Tribute to Qandeel Baloch…

However, the entire nation was shocked when a video was released in which Qandeel was seen ‘teasing’ one of the most revered and respected religious scholars of the country, Mufti Abdul Qavi. As soon as the video was released online, it took social media by storm and calls were made to sack the Mufti from all the important designations in his portfolio. Mufti Qavi was stripped of his membership of the Ruet-i-Hilal committee as soon as the video and selfies with Qandeel came out.

Victims are seen as having brought shame on their families by acting out of their control. Killing them supposedly restores the family’s standing in the community.

This seemed to be just another controversy involving the social media celebrity but that didn’t turn out to be the case. Only a month after the release of this videotape, Qandeel Baloch was murdered by her own brother in the name of ‘honor’.

This led many to suspect that Mufti Abdul Qavi was involved or at least abetted the murder of Qandeel Baloch. Her father also nominated Mufti Qavi as one of the prime suspects in the murder of his daughter.

The National Ulema Mushaikh Council revoked his membership after he was nominated in Qandeel’s murder case.

Read more: The first death anniversary of Qandeel

Honor Killing: A Menace Plaguing our Society

The case of Ms. Baloch illustrates a culture clash: As more women across South Asia press for greater liberties, they are coming up against traditional social mores in deeply conservative societies.

The human-rights commission estimates that about 100 Pakistani women died in 2016 at the hands of relatives in so-called honor killings. Victims are seen as having brought shame on their families by acting out of their control. Killing them supposedly restores the family’s standing in the community.

This led many to suspect that Mufti Abdul Qavi was involved or at least abetted the murder of Qandeel Baloch. Her father also nominated Mufti Qavi as one of the prime suspects in the murder of his daughter.

The practice stems from the feudal-patriarchal mindset, which is very much a part of the social fabric of South Asia to this day, but “laws like Qisas and Diyat, if not encourage, abet the perpetrators of such crimes,” said Afiya Zia, an independent researcher who, with Nazish Brohi, contributed a paper in the compilation, representing the perspective from Pakistan on the issue of honor killing.

Human Rights activists have been calling for harsher punishments to deter people from committing this crime.

Read more: Mufti Qavi: Now declared himself sick and is in hospital instead…

Qandeel was the sole bread earner of her family. Her murderer (brother), Waseem, used to draw money from Qandeel’s account to cover his costs, to open a mobile shop for himself and to construct a house for his entire family. In this case, the complexity has been increased by the alleged involvement of the Mufti who seems to have probable cause of wanting Qandeel dead after the leaked pictures and video with her ruined his ‘reputation’ and got him fired.

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