Features, Social

Qandeel Baloch: Unforgettable

Qandeel Baloch, a name that is still remembered. A name that refuses to be buried and a name that still gets heard in conversations and debates. It has been one year since the death of Qandeel Baloch, but her name is still alive and her story: unforgettable.

One year ago on July 15th, she was killed by her brother in the name of an honour killing. Being one of the first big social media stars in Pakistan, along with a controversial model, Baloch received an immense amount of hate and criticism from everyone around her. Her ways were extremely progressive, and she was labelled as shameless and an embarrassment.

However, she stuck to her views and kept her stance strong, not allowing the comments to affect the way chose to present herself. Baloch, continued to live her life the way she desired and became one of the biggest models in Pakistan. This didn't sit well with her brother however. Without expecting the worst from home, she was caught off guard by her brother who was tired of the shame and chose to strangle her to death. He named it an honour killing and said he wasn't embarrassed at all.

Shortly after her death, all her social media was completely wiped from existence including videos and photos. By the week or two after the death, people had moved on to other topics and her death was subsided. However, this did not stay this way.

Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy directed a short film in memory of Qandeel which was voiced by international pop-sensation Madonna. The video begins with a snippet of Baloch saying, “I will do something. I will do something that will shock everyone” and then shows snippets of Baloch’s video while being voiced over by Madonna.

This brought Qandeel back into conversation, followed by Saba Qamar’s announcement in May that she would be playing Qandeel Baloch in a biopic termed ‘Baaghi'. The representations of the iconic starlet continued to grow and she has now become unforgettable. A slap in the face to those who work towards silencing women by opting for murder.

Director Saad Khan, created a facebook page called "Qandeel Ki Kahani" which respectfully gives everyone more insight into the life of the unforgettable starlet. He centered her story in her own words, and through narratives of those who knew her. "Qandeel successfully climbed the socio-economic ladder in a country where the class you’re born into determines who you are, what opportunities you’ll get, and what you can do. She defied all that and became Pakistan’s social media superstar.” the page reads.

The Facebook page also includes a statement by Qandeel's sister who sheds light on her life just a little bit and her ambitions since a young age. "She loved dancing. She liked singing. She’d tell us her voice is really good, that she’d become a singer. She’d be watching TV and she’d say, ‘I’ll make something out of myself. I’ll do something.’ ‘I’ll act, I’ll sing.’ ‘I’ll do everything.’ ‘you’ll see.’We [brothers and sisters] would laugh and say, ‘Azeem Baray’s daughter will do work in acting?’ She’d say ‘Yes, I’ll do it and show you all,’” Qandeel’s sister.

Qandeel Baloch has been remembered and honoured for her liberalism and humanist attitude and for not letting the barriers of society stop her from doing what she loved and believed in. Attitudes like this are important in every society, especially those that are still developing. Many feel that her work was vulgar and not something to be proud of, however the idea that a woman in a society so dense with values, crossed all borders and barriers in the opposite direction of every belief around her makes her a notable person. She was worth fighting for, and is worth being honoured and remembered.

By Maheen Malik

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