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Mufti Qavi walks after submitting surety bonds worth Rs200,000

Updated 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.

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, police had arrested Qavi near Multan in connection with the case after his application for an extension of pre-arrest bail was turned down.

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

The cleric was released after 27 days in custody after District and Sessions Judge Ameer Muhammad Khan approved his bail against Rs200,000 in surety bonds.

During the Tuesday hearing of the case, 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.

The cleric was welcomed by family and followers, who had gathered outside the jail where he was being kept.

Talking briefly to media after his release, he claimed to have suffered from high blood pressure during his time in jail.

He also criticised the proceedings of the Qandeel Baloch murder case, saying that four investigation officers had been changed in the case.

"The selfie [of him and Qandeel] was taken in 2016 and its challan was completed in 2017 after four investigation officers came and left," he complained.

He said he would tell the public about "Punjab police and jail" tomorrow.

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

The Qandeel murder case

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.