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Qandeel murder echoes in UK House of Commons

Updated July 22, 2016

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Nusrat Ghani
Nusrat Ghani

KARACHI: The murder of social media celebrity Qandeel Baloch echoed in the UK’s House of Commons on Wednesday afternoon when Prime Minister Theresa May said there was no honour in the so-called honour-based violence.

The prime minister said this in response to a call from Kashmir-born Conservative MP, Nusrat Ghani, referring to Ms Baloch who was strangled to death last week allegedly by her brother, to stop using the word ‘honour’ to describe murder or violence.

During Ms May’s first prime minister’s questions in parliament, Ms Ghani, the MP for Wealden, said: “Extremism takes many forms, from the atrocity in Nice to the violent murder of Qandeel Baloch by her own brother in Pakistan, justified as an ‘honour killing’.”

In this grab taken from video British PM Theresa May speaks during her first session of Prime Minister's Questions at the House of Commons, in London, July 20.— AP
In this grab taken from video British PM Theresa May speaks during her first session of Prime Minister's Questions at the House of Commons, in London, July 20.— AP

Qandeel Baloch, born Fauzia Azeem, who became famous through her tireless self-promotion and suggestive selfies posted on social media, had amassed tens of thousands of followers.

“There were 11,000 incidents of these self-styled honour crimes in the UK over the last five years. Does the prime minister agree that such crimes are in fact acts of terror, not honour, and will she therefore direct that her new government shows the lead by ending use of the word ‘honour’ to describe these vile acts in order to stop giving any legitimacy to the idea that women are the property of men,” she added.

Ms May, who took charge as prime minister a few days before Ms Baloch’s murder, said: “She [Ghani] is absolutely right, extremism does take many forms and that’s why in the government’s counter-extremism policy we’re looking very widely — across the breadth of issues of extremism, including looking at tackling the root causes of some practices within communities such as the so-called honour-based violence.”

“I absolutely agree with her [Ghani], there is absolutely no honour in so-called honour-based violence. It is violence and a criminal act pure and simple,” she added.

MP Ghani tweeted about Ms Baloch and the British prime minister’s response on her official Twitter account @Nus_Ghani: “She was our Qandeel...a firebrand who dared to do as she pleased.”

“At #PMQs I asked @theresa_may to end the use of the word ‘honour’ to describe crimes in which there is no honour.”

“It’s time we stop giving these crimes any justification with the word ‘honour’.”

She also tweeted a link to the live streaming of the session which can be viewed at: http://parliamentlive.tv.

Published in Dawn, July 22nd, 2016