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Pakistan: The cleric behind Qandeel Baloch’s ’honour’ murder

Tuesday 14 November 2017, by siawi3


Mufti Qavi granted bail in Qandeel Baloch murder case

Taser Subhani

November 14, 2017

A district and sessions court in Multan on Tuesday granted bail to Mufti Abdul Qavi in the Qandeel Baloch murder case almost a month after his arrest.

A day earlier, Qavi’s bail hearing had been delayed due to the non-availability of a judge.

Qandeel had been murdered last year, allegedly by her brother Mohammad Waseem, who said he killed her in the name of ’honour’.

On Oct 18, Qavi had been arrested by police near Multan after his application for extension of pre-arrest bail was turned down and he subsequently escaped from court. One day prior to his arrest, Mufti Qavi had appeared before a sessions court for the first time in connection with the murder case.

On Oct 30, Muhammad Azeem’s ─ the slain celebrity’s father ─ had told the court that his daughter had been killed on Qavi’s behest.

On Tuesday, District and Sessions Judge Ameer Khan granted bail to the cleric after a hearing of the case.

During the hearing, Qavi’s lawyer argued before the court that his client was investigated only after a ’mysterious’ call from Saudi Arabia asked the prosecution to do so.

“It is a wonder why Qavi is being investigated when Qandeel’s brother Waseem has already confessed to the crime,” he said.

During an earlier hearing of the case, Qavi had maintained that he had not done anything wrong or illegal.

Qandeel’s murder

Model and actress Qandeel Baloch ─ born Fouzia Azeem ─ was found strangled to death in her house in Multan’s Karimabad area on July 16, 2016. Her father claimed that she was killed by her younger brother, Waseem, in ’the name of honour’.

Waseem was arrested by police in Dera Ghazi Khan later that night and confessed to the crime.

Accompanied by police at a press conference, Waseem alleged to have drugged and strangled the young star, saying that she had “brought dishonour to the Baloch name” due to her risque videos and statements posted on social media.

“There are other issues as well... like the maulvi [cleric] issue,” he had said, in an apparent reference to a festering controversy in the weeks leading up to her death after Qandeel took selfies with Qavi that were seen as inappropriate by many.

The selfies had gone viral on social media, causing a nationwide furore, after which the cleric’s membership of the Ruet-i-Hilal committee and the National Ulema Mushaikh Council had been suspended.