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Huma Zafar | July 19, 2016

“You cant stop us from loving, Mr. President!” exclaimed Qandeel Baloch, on Valentine’s Day, when the Government of Pakistan banned the celebrations of Valentine’s Day in the country.

A week ago or even three days ago I never would have imagined that I would be penning a tribute to Qandeel Baloch. She was not exactly on my list of favourite people. Someone in the background who caught my attention a few times a year, when a friend pointed out something scandalous she had done or said. My opinion about her gradually changed over time. Qandeel was someone I applauded in my heart and smiled every time she showed up on television because she would confidently tell the arrogant anchor what was right or wrong. My favourite moment: When the Mufti’s actions were brought forward.

I like gutsy women! I really do. This is a small tribute from one gutsy woman to another.

Qandeel Baloch has in her short lived life done something extraordinary for this country. She has highlighted the hypocrisy in which we are all engulfed. Most women are passive, because of the pressure in our society of others’ opinions. Qandeel, however, was brave and did not care about the opinions of other people. She was true to herself. The only person that truly matters is ‘Yourself’- Qandeel taught us this.

I saw her pictures from her teen years, of her married life and compared those to her recent confident modelling pictures. It is a different woman, altogether. The differences are not in her clothes or lack of head coverings, but in her eyes. You can see an ambitious, determined woman, who has gone after what she wants. What is so wrong about ambition?

What I admired the most about her, were her guts. She probably has more guts to speak out than most of the men in this country put together. Kudos to her! This is not about feminism, this is about creative expression and how gendered and socio-economic differences do not allow for it.

Qandeel’s so called “ vulgarity” is no different than the clothing seen in elite parties, it is no different than what Sunny Leone wears in BabyDoll that is played repeatedly on television for every person, every child, in every class to see and shake and dance too. How was she any different from an ex-porn-star turned movie actress displaying her goodies in lingerie on national television screaming pink lips? Oh because Pakistani women only do this behind closed doors. Read between the lines -Hypocrisy! Sexualisation of women is rampant in every genre of entertainment. Why? Because somewhere, someone once decided that seeing a woman in her “glory” sells. And it did! More people tuned in to see what thee next controversial thing Qandeel would wear or do. After all, she was an entertainer.

And now she has done more than just entertaining. Her death has become bigger, more publicised than ever. It raised an issue: What honour is there in killing? It is a murder.

For me personally she reminded me that she is living her life, true to herself, with guts and galore, living without caring about what others thought of her. We don’t know her life, we don’t know her story, we haven’t walked in her shoes. We have no right to judge. There is no applauding a death. There is no applauding, “she had it coming”. There are no applauds. There needs to be a voice against injustice. There is no honour in killing.

You can not stop us from loving her. You simply can not!

May you shine bright up there Qandeel. Shine bright like a true star that you are!

This article is reproduced with author’s permission. Original article appeared on Hello Pakistan Mag.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s editorial policy.

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