Fauzia Azeem or as we know her as the social media sensation; Qandeel Baloch was strangled to death by her own 30-year-old brother; Waseem on Friday night, 16th July ‘2016 in what appears to be a ‘honour killing’.
Qandeel was recently receiving threats for which she asked for security three weeks ago which was straightly ignored.
Some called her death as a ‘Good news’ on the other hand others said it was wrong to condone her murder even she was flawed and showed outright support.
But the question strikes up in our mind as we think of her; What led her to become what she was? There must be some serious circumstances for what she was doing? Right?
Fauzia Azeem was born on 1st March ‘1990 in Daska, Punjab. At the age of 17 she was forced to marry Aashiq Hussain of Kot Addu who was not only older than her but also uneducated; She also has a 7-year-old son from him.
This is an extraction of what Qandeel says in a Dawn interview about her Marital life and struggles she faced after her release from the forced marriage.
” What do you think will happen in a forced marriage? With an uneducated man, an animal.
” I never accepted him as my husband in my heart or mind. How I spent a year and a half with him, only I know. And I only did it because of the child. Otherwise I wouldn’t have spent even one month with him.” says Qandeel of her husband.
” Why do you call him an animal? ” asked the interviewer
” He is. The kind of torture he has inflicted on me, you can’t even imagine. Why? Because I was cute, I was young. He was older than me. He didn’t trust me. I don’t know why. I couldn’t connect with him on an intellectual level. Our ideas were very different.
Then I had a child, so I sacrificed. I spent a year and a half with him. After the child, I told him I want to study. I want to complete my education, I want to get a job, I want to stand on my own two feet. But he never agreed.
My family never supported me. I would say I don’t want to live with him, but they didn’t support me. That man tried to throw acid on me. He said ‘I’ll burn your face because you’re so beautiful’. And today the media isn’t giving me any credit for speaking about empowerment of women, girl power.
They don’t recognize that this girl fought. Today I am capable of taking on the burden of an entire household. But no one gives me credit for that. ”
” Can you tell us a little more about your journey? “
” I was 17-18 when I got married. When I was 19 years old… I had a child within one year. Then there were fights, arguments, being violent with me. Then when my family didn’t support me, I ran away and found support in Darul Aman. That was my right.
I didn’t know what I would do ahead. It was in Multan. The child was with me. I had kept him with me because he was really young. He fell ill in Darul Aman. He was so sick, everyone told me that I should give him back to his father, that if anything happened to him, God forbid, they would do a case on me. I had to give my son back to them.
After that, I was discharged from there. I thought now I am capable of doing this on my own. I did a job, I completed my Matric and my Bachelors. I did a marketing job, I worked as a bus hostess, I did a lot of jobs, I struggled a lot. I got out from there. The first thing I did when I got out of Darul Aman was my Matric. Then I did my Bachelors privately, I kept doing it. I did quite few jobs, in Daewoo, in Lever Brothers. Quite a few jobs. Then after a while, I started working in showbiz. ”
” When did you start working in Showbiz? “
” It was about 2012, 2013. I started from zero. Small fashion shows, small photoshoots. I’ve seen a lot. I’ve seen a lot of things up close. I married my sister off, I gave jahez (dowry) for her wedding, I tried to keep relations going with my family, I bought a house for them in Multan. My parents are settled in Multan, my house is there.
Now today all of this is happening, people are filing cases against me. Now he’s standing up and saying I’m his wife. Where was he before? ”
” Are you Divorced? “
” Yes, I got divorced. ”
” But it wasn’t a written divorce? ”
” Talaaq ho gayi thi, khula ho gaya tha.”
” So if you’re divorced, why is he only surfacing now? ”
” I don’t know. I can’t understand. ”
” Has he been in touch with you? ”
” No, we haven’t had any contact. ”
” Would you like to talk about your child? ”
” What should I say about my child? It’s his child. His son. ”
” How do you feel about him [your child]? ”
” I tried a lot to keep him close to me. But they didn’t let me speak to him. I thought when my child is older, he’ll understand, he’ll see the environment there and feel that his mother was right, that she did what was right. ”
” Given your upbringing, how did you reach where you are today? You say that you’ve done really bold stuff. How did this happen? ”
” I’ve fought with everyone . And now I have become so headstrong that I only do what I want. I started working in showbiz, I faced so many difficulties, you know what happens with girls here. You know what kinds of offers they make girls here. You know how they try to misuse girls who are new to the industry.
You could say that this is my revenge [from this country]. I don’t do these things happily. ”
” What do you mean what you do is an act of revenge? “
” Nothing is good in this society. This mardon ki society (patriarchal society) is bad. You probably know this already, think about the problems you face yourself.
Being a girl, think yourself, how difficult it is to move around as a woman in this society. How many men do you encounter who bother you? The same way, I have struggled through difficulties to make a place for myself in showbiz. It was very difficult. What kind of problems I have faced, I don’t think anyone can understand.
I want to give my followers a positive message, I want to give those girls a positive message who have been forcefully married, who continue to sacrifice. I want to be an example for those people. That’s my aim. ”
So that is how a Pakistani girl turned into Qandeel Baloch; but did she deserved it? did she deserved being brutally murdered by her own brother?
But after being brutally murdered didn’t Qandeel Baloch turn into our national hero: a symbol of woman empowerment, defiance and rebellion. Now suddenly a movie would be announced in her name, debates on TV shows about how women are oppressed and what not. She chose this lifestyle for herself nobody forced her.
I’m neither happy nor sad at her unfortunate death rather I’m appalled at how violence has become the solution for everything in this country. Not only that the violence was covered in the name of so-called ‘honour killing’ which is the cause of over 500 death toll each year in Pakistan. She should have been left alone in her life and now in her death. But her killer should definitely be brought to justice.
Every single person I know including myself hated her, so we all need to stop pretending that her murder is going to create a difference in our lives. We, the ever hypocrites will find another source of entertainment! Soon there’ll be another sensation to love and to hate…
written by Sa’pheena Saif