Qandeel Baloch, Pakistan’s first female social media celebrity, who belonged to a working class rural family from the province of Punjab and had over 750,000 followers on Facebook alone. Born on 1 March 1990 in Dera Ghazi Khan.
Baloch married Aashiq Hussain in 2008, aged 17, and had one son with him. Baloch left her husband a year later, saying he was abusive. Hussain stated that theirs was a love marriage.
“I still have the letters which she wrote with her blood.” Qandeel went with her baby son to a government-run domestic violence shelter in Multan. Not long after arriving, Qandeel left her infant son with her husband and his relatives. “I want to make my own life,” she confessed to the shelter administrator.
“Whatever I want to do, I cannot do it with a child hanging on to me. I will become helpless.” She disappeared from the shelter the next day.
On 15 July 2016, Qandeel Baloch was drugged and then asphyxiated by her brother M. Waseem while she was asleep at her parents’ home in Multan. Her death was reported by her father Azeem.
It was first reported as a shooting, but an autopsy report confirmed that Baloch was murdered by asphyxiation while she was asleep, on the night of 15–16 July, around 11:15 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. By the time her body was found she had already been dead for between fifteen and thirty-six hours.
Marks on Baloch’s body revealed that her mouth and nose were pinned shut to asphyxiate her. Police said that they would investigate all sides of the murder including honour killing.