Qandeel murder case takes new turn as father changes statement

LAHORE: The high-profile murder of Pakistani social media star Qandeel Baloch has taken a new turn after her father retracted his earlier statement and refused to testify against one of the suspects, prompting the police to register a case against him.

During a court proceeding yesterday, Qandeel’s father and complainant Azeem Baloch refused to testify against Aslam (brother of Qandeel) whom he had earlier declared as one of the suspects in the case.

In the FIR Azeem had alleged that Aslam was involved in the planning of the murder of 25 year-old Qandeel.

However, in a court in Multan, he backtracked from his statement. Additional district and sessions judge Saeed Ahmad Raza ordered the police to register a case against Azeem.

Police have registered a case against him under section 213 of Pakistan Penal Code.

The court has already indicted three suspects – Qandeel’s brother Waseem, her cousin Haq Nawaz and taxi driver Abdul Basit. The suspects, however, denied committing the crime. Another suspect Zafar Khosa is absconding.

Police claimed that Waseem had made a confession of killing her sister in the presence of an area magistrate. But the counsel for the accused denied any such confession.

The Qandeel was found strangled in her house in Multan, some 350 kilometres from Lahore, on July 16, 2016.

Her brother Waseem had confessed to having killed his sister ‘in the name of honour’.

In his confession video, Waseem had expressed no regret in killing his sister.

“I am proud of what I did. I drugged her first then I killed her. She was bringing dishonor to our family,” Waseem had said.

Qandeel had caught public attention after posting bold videos and pictures many considered as ‘obscene’ on Facebook.

Pakistani cleric Mufti Qawi, who was embroiled in a scandal with Baloch after she uploaded her pictures with him during a meeting, believes that she has met this fate because she had humiliated him.

“Those who intend to or humiliate clerics must learn from Qandeel Baloch’s fate,” Qawi had said in his reaction on her murder.

Qandeel had received threats from the supporters of Qawi for allegedly trying to disgrace him.

Waseem in his confessional statement had also said humiliation of Qawi was also one of the “motivational factors” to kill his sister.