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Discussion Over Honour Killings Grows In Pakistan After Qandeel Baloch's Murder

Pakistani laws allow families to "forgive" honour killings, which automatically drops all murder charges. Not this time.

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On 16 July, Pakistani model, actor, and social media celebrity Qandeel Baloch – real name Fouzia Azeem – was drugged and strangled by her brother Waseem Azeem at their home.

"Girls are born only to stay at home and to bring honour to the family by following family traditions but Qandeel had never done that. Now everybody will remember me with honour," Waseem said in a police press conference after his arrest.
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"Girls are born only to stay at home and to bring honour to the family by following family traditions but Qandeel had never done that. Now everybody will remember me with honour," Waseem said in a police press conference after his arrest.

As honour killings are a common occurrence in Pakistan, a loophole in the legal process is that if the victim's family forgives the murderer, then charges of murder can be dropped.

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But this time the Pakistani government is doing things differently. According to police sources, the district of Punjab has retracted the family's right to forgive Waseem, which means he will be tried to the full extent of the law.

"It was done on the instructions of the government. But it happens rarely," said a Punjab police official in a Times of India report. A senior government official from Islamabad also confirmed the order in the same report.An anti–honour killings bill has also been presented in the parliament in hopes of eradicating the forgiveness loophole in these crimes. But it is still unclear how long it will take for the bill to be passed, or if it will even go through the parliament.
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"It was done on the instructions of the government. But it happens rarely," said a Punjab police official in a Times of India report. A senior government official from Islamabad also confirmed the order in the same report.

An anti–honour killings bill has also been presented in the parliament in hopes of eradicating the forgiveness loophole in these crimes. But it is still unclear how long it will take for the bill to be passed, or if it will even go through the parliament.

Baloch's murder has sparked widespread outrage on social media and people have flooded the streets with protests.

Aamir Qureshi / AFP / Getty Images