A Pakistani man who killed his famous sister was released on Saturday after a court ruled it was not an “honour killing” that allowed their mother to pardon him, lawyers said.
Qandeel Baloch was strangled in 2016 by her brother Muhammad Waseem, who described her suggestive behavior on social media as “unbearable”.
In response to the public outcry, Pakistan passed legislation that would supposedly close a legal loophole that would allow family members to forgive those behind the so-called “honour killing”, but instead impose a mandatory life sentence.
But after less than six years in prison, an appeals judge ruled that Baloch’s murder could not be classified as an honor crime, dismissing his confession.
In accordance with Pakistan’s other laws on murder, the mother was allowed to grant her freedom.
“Waseem has been released from prison in accordance with the order of the honorable Supreme Court of Lahore,” his lawyer Sardar Mehboob told AFP.
“He is now a free man,” he added.
Waseem, 38, was released from prison in the eastern city of Multan after being acquitted on Monday.
Maleeka Bokhari, a female parliamentarian, said the government was “undertaking a review of legal options” against the acquittal.
Earlier, Pakistan’s Information Minister, Fawad Chaudhry, had said the government will challenge the verdict in Pakistan’s highest court.
“We as a nation should be ashamed of such a (legal) system,” Chaudhry said on Twitter.
Baloch became famous for her flirty and provocative messages that went against the deeply patriarchal mores of the country.
Waseem was arrested immediately after her death and later sentenced to life in prison for strangling her – he brazenly told the media he had no regrets.
The case became the most high-profile ‘honour killing’ in recent years – in which women are given death sentences by male relatives for allegedly bringing ‘shame’ to a family’s reputation.
The court’s verdict, published Friday, said it had been “acquitted of the case on the basis of a compromise”, and said a confession by the killer “cannot be considered more than a piece of paper”.
In Baloch’s case, her parents initially insisted that their son not receive absolution, but they later changed their mind and said they wanted to forgive him.
A lawyer for the mother said she had “given her consent” to pardon him, her lawyer Safdar Shah said on Monday.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by DailyExpertNews staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.)