State becomes complainant in Qandeel Baloch case, making it impossible for family to pardon murderer

Late Qandeel Baloch addresses to media persons during a press conference in June 2016 Photograph:( Getty )

WION New Delhi, India Jul 18, 2016, 04.20 PM (IST)
The first information report (FIR) registered against the "killers" of social media celebrity, Qandeel Baloch, was transformed into a non-compoundable FIR. This makes it impossible for Qandeels's family to pardon her killers, reported Pakistani daily, Dawn.

Dawn quoted a senior police officer, involved with the investigation of the case, as saying that Sections 311 and 305 of the Pakistan Penal Code has been added to the FIR.

"Section 305 states that the 'wali' will be the heirs of the victim, but will exclude the accused or convict in case of qatl-i-amd (wilful murder) if committed in the name or on the pretext of honour. According to Section 311, notwithstanding anything contained in Section 309 or Section 310... the court may, having regard to the facts and circumstances of the case, punish an offender against whom the right of qisas has been waived or compounded with death, or imprisonment for life, or imprisonment of either description for a term of which may extend to fourteen years as ta'zir," the newspaper explained the two sections of Pakistani law framed specifically to deal with "honour killing" cases.

“There cannot be an agreement (after this). These sections were created to end karo-kari (honour killing). Now that they have added them to the FIR, the victim's family cannot forgive the killers as the state has become a complainant. It will be taken as a murder against the state,” Dawn quoted advocate Balak Shair Khosa. 

In some communities, especially tribal ones, after a murder there is a practice of demanding blood money or forgiving the murderer. In cases of honour killings, the murderer is generally pardoned. Thus, in this case, introduction of these two sections are very important.

In the early hours of Saturday, Qandeel Baloch, who was a model and an actress, was strangled to death in her house in Multan's Karimabad area. Her father claimed that it was an honour killing by her younger brother, Waseem. 

In a press conference, where Waseem was accompanied by police, he confessed that he had drugged and strangled Qandeel. He tried to reason the murder by saying that “she brought dishonour to the Baloch name” by posting indecent videos and statements on social media.

Pakistan police said today that they were investigating Mufti Abdul Qavi, Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf religious wing's head, who was censured for appearing in “selfie” photographs with Qandeel. Qavi was suspended from Ruet-i-Hilal committee after the photographs were published.

Azhar Ikram, the police chief in the town of Multan, where Baloch was killed, told Reuters: "We have decided to widen the scope of the investigation and include Mufti Abdul Qavi in the probe." Although Qavi has denied any involvement in the murder, today he told Reuters he would present himself to police for questioning if summoned. 

Baloch's other brother, Mohammad Aslam, a junior army officer, is also being investigated by the police. After his daughter's death Qandeel's father, Mohammad Azeem, had filed a police report against both his sons. He had alleged that Aslam had encouraged Waseem to carry out the murder.

Police have not commented on Aslam's role, and according to Dawn today he was unavailable for comment.

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