Outspoken Model, 26, Strangled by Her Brother in Honor Killing: Cops

Qandeel Baloch was killed in her sleep after an argument with her brother over her raunchy photographs.

An outspoken model and social media star has been strangled to death by her brother in an apparent honor killing, police said Saturday.

Qandeel Baloch, whose real name was Fauzia Azeem, was regarded as Pakistan's first social media celebrity who divided the conservative country over her raunchy posts.

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On Saturday, police spokeswoman Nabila Ghazanfar told The Associated Press that one of Baloch's six brothers strangled her to death as she slept in the family's home in Multan.

The 26-year-old argued with her brother on Friday night but her body was not found until Saturday morning, her parents told The Express Tribune, a Pakistani newspaper. "[Her] brothers had asked her to quit modelling," family sources told the Tribune.

Police continue to search for her brother. Their parents are also in custody, the Tribune reported.

Family members carry out honor killings as punishment for women they believe have disrespected them in some way. More than 1,000 women were killed in honor killings in Pakistan last year alone, according to data from the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. 

Baloch recently stirred controversy by posting pictures of herself with Mufti Qavi, a prominent Muslim cleric.

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She said they had enjoyed soft drinks and cigarettes together during daylight hours, even though it was the holy month of Ramadan, when practicing Muslims fast until dusk each day.

Qavi denied the account and said he only met with her to discuss the teachings of Islam.

Baloch, who was celebrated by liberals in her country but reviled by conservatives, wrote recently on Facebook that she is "trying to change the typical orthodox mindset of people who don't wanna come out of their shells of false beliefs and old practices."

"It's time to bring a change because the world is changing," she wrote. "Let's open our minds and live in the present."

Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, whose documentary "A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness" won an Oscar earlier this year, condemned the killing in an interview with the AFP.

"I really feel that no woman is safe in this country, until we start making examples of people," she said, "until we start sending men who kill women to jail, unless we literally say there will be no more killing and those who dare will spend the rest of their lives behind bars."

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