A trial court in Multan on Thursday rejected a request by the parents of slain social media star Qandeel Baloch to pardon her brothers, who are accused of killing her.
Baloch's brother Waseem had strangled her to death in the name of “honour” at their house in 2016. He later confessed to have killed her because she allegedly “brought dishonour to the Baloch name” with her risque videos and statements posted on social media. Her brother Aslam Shaheen was also nominated in the case.
The social media celebrity's parents, Muhammad Azeem and Anwar Bibi, had on Wednesday submitted an affidavit in the local trial court, saying they had forgiven the killers and the case against their sons should be thrown out.
They had argued that since the Anti-Honour Killing Laws (Criminal Amendment Bill), 2015 — which bars pardoning killers in such cases — was passed several months after the murder of their daughter, it could not be applied in this case. They had also denied the allegation that Baloch was killed for the sake of honour.
As the affidavit was taken up by the model court today, Baloch's parents informed District and Sessions Judge Imran Shafi that they had forgiven their sons "in the name of Allah".
The judge asked them whether they were only pardoning their sons and not all the accused in the murder case, to which the parents responded in affirmative.
Judge Shafi informed them that he would decide their request after examining whether law grants them the right to pardon the killers or not.
"Do you realise what impact your pardon will have on the other accused in the case?" the judge went on to ask, addressing Baloch's parents.
The court later dismissed Baloch's parents' application to pardon their sons, with the judge saying the case regarding murder in the name of 'honour' would be decided once the testimonies of all witnesses have been recorded.
The accused in the case, including cleric Mufti Abdul Qavi, were present in the hearing today. After Qavi informed the court that he leads prayers in Jhang on Fridays, the court adjourned the hearing of the case until August 24, when the statements of more witnesses will be recorded.
In January 2017, the Muzaffarabad (Multan) police had lodged a First Information Report under Section 213 of the Pakistan Penal Code against Baloch's parents on the complaint of assistant sub-inspector Allah Ditta, the investigation officer, in which it was stated that Baloch's parents recorded their statements in court on Jan 19 and a few days later, on Jan 25, they submitted an affidavit. He said they had retracted their earlier statement against their elder son Aslam and there was a likelihood that they would do so in the case of the main accused Waseem, Baloch's younger brother, as well.
The IO further stated that he had seen Baloch's parents receiving an envelope (allegedly containing cash) from Aslam Shaheen outside the court. Aslam was quoted as saying at the time: "I have fulfilled their demand. Now they should record their statement in the court in my favour."