Saudi Arabia hands over fleeting brother of Qandeel Baloch suspected of murder to Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: Saudi Arabia handed over to Pakistan, the brother of a social media celebrity, a fleeting suspect of his horrible murder, days after he was arrested in the Gulf kingdom, according to a media report.

Fouzia Azeem, better known as Qandeel, was strangled to death by his brother Waseem Khan at his home in Multan in the province of Punjab on July 15, 2016, in a chilling murder that sparked shocks throughout Pakistan, which caused a torrent of pain in social networks. the media and the fierce debate about the prevalence of honor killings of women.

Waseem had confessed to the murder of his 26-year-old sister and said he had brought discredit to the family's honor with his daring videos and statements posted on social media.

The cell of the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) in Saudi Arabia arrested Muzaffar Iqbal, a brother and suspect in the murder of Qandeel, on Wednesday as part of his work to combat international crime, Pakistani media reported.

The arrest was made at the request of the Pakistani government of 2016 to Saudi Arabia since Iqbal was residing in the country at that time. Iqbal has been accused of helping and inciting the murder of Qandeel, according to the report.

After the murder of Qandeel, his father Muhammad Azeem Baloch had presented a murder case against his son, the accomplice Haq Nawaz and others.

An affidavit submitted by parents in 2016 had also named two of their other children, Aslam Shaheen and Arif.

In October last year, Arif, another suspect and fugitive brother, was arrested with the help of Interpol from Saudi Arabia and transferred to Multan.

In September, a model court had sentenced Waseem to life imprisonment for murdering his sister after he admitted to drugging and murdering his sister.

Six others, including Mufti Abdul Qavi and Qandeel's two brothers, Shaheen and Arif, were acquitted in the case.

On August 22, the court rejected the August 21 appeal of the parents of the deceased model to acquit their children as they had been forgiven.

Before that, however, his parents had refused to forgive their children and had asked for capital punishment in the case.

Qandeel became famous for his bold photos, videos and comments on social networks. But the publications in which he talked about trying to change the orthodox mentality typical of people in Pakistan were considered scandalous by the largely conservative Pakistani community.

Described as Kim Kardashian of Pakistan, Qandeel built a career as a model in the back of his social media fame. He faced frequent violent reactions and death threats, but continued to publish his photos and videos.

The 2016 assassination sparked a fierce debate in Pakistan about the prevalence of honor killings of women.

Each year, more than 1,000 women are killed in Pakistan in the so-called honor killings committed by their male relatives.

The murder of Qandeel restarted the debate in the Muslim-majority country that led to the approval of an amendment to the Criminal Code of Pakistan in October 2016, allowing police to take care of the victim's family as the main complainant in the case of an honor killing. .

The amendment made it impossible for Qandeel's family to use the laws of the country that allow close relatives of murder victims to forgive the murderers.