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Appeal launched over Pakistani brother’s killing of social media star

ISLAMABAD (AFP) – Pakistani prosecutors said yesterday they have appealed to the country’s top court after a man was acquitted of murdering his celebrity sister over what he called her “intolerable” behaviour on social media.

Qandeel Baloch was strangled to death in 2016 by her brother Muhammad Waseem. He had brazenly told local media that he had no remorse for the killing and was initially sentenced to life in prison.

After six years, Waseem was freed on a legal technicality that allows a victim’s mother to pardon the crime.

The case was considered the most high-profile “honour killing” of recent years – where women are murdered by male relatives for purportedly bringing “shame” to the reputation of a family. Pakistan had passed legislation in 2016 mandating life in prison for honour killings, supposedly closing a loophole that allowed family to pardon the crime.

But Waseem, 38, was acquitted after a judge ruled the crime was not an honour killing and so, in line with Pakistan’s other laws on murder, their mother was still allowed to grant his freedom.

“We have challenged his acquittal, which was granted to him on mere assumptions and technical grounds,” state prosecutor Khurram Khan told AFP yesterday.

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