Multan - Model and social media celebrity Qandeel Baloch was allegedly strangled to death by her brother in a suspected honour killing here on Saturday.

She was popular among country’s youth for her seemingly idiotic social media videos which would often stir laughter and provide amusement, though her boldness earned her strong disapproval among the conservative circles.

Qandeel – meaning candle, lamp or chandelier – was in her twenties and her real name was Fauzia Azeem.

She had travelled with her family to Muzzafarabad village for the recent Eid and was staying with her parents residing in a rented house in Green Town area of Multan where she was killed.

Her father Azeem Ahmad told police his son Waseem killed Qandeel for honour because he "wanted her to quit showbiz". The accused, who runs a mobile phone shop in Dera Ghazi Khan, was on the run after the crime, police sources said.

In the case registered on her father’s complaint, another of her brother was nominated for provoking Waseem to kill Qandeel. A three-member medical board conducted the post-mortem of the deceased and confirmed that she died of strangulation.

Police sources said that no signs of torture were found on her body, although a nail scratch was observed on her neck.

Police suspected that some kind of intoxication was also given to Qandeel in her food. The viscera samples had been collected and sent to Lahore for forensic examination.

Multan CPO Azhar Akram told media that although honour appeared to be the apparent reason of the murder, yet police would view all aspects and angles in investigations. He said that raids were being conducted for the arrest of the accused.

He said that Qandeel’s father told police that he was asleep with the family at the roof of the house while Qandeel was sleeping in the room on ground floor. When he came down in the morning, he found her dead. The CPO said that Azeem told police that his son Waseem reached here last night and escaped after killing Qandeel.

Bold videos and statements on Facebook had brought Qandeel many threats. She had recently filed an application with the interior ministry, stating that she was receiving threats from unidentified persons and she needed security. But, she was not given any security. Multan CPO however said that local police had not received any request from Qandeel for security.

With over half a million facebook followers, Ms Baloch had become a social media celebrity in Pakistan during the last couple of years. She also surfaced among top 10 most Googled Pakistanis.

Recently her pictures with Mufti Abdul Qawi, a member of Royat-e-Hilal Committee and president of PTI Punjab Ulama Wing, created a stir in the country. Mufti lost his committee membership and party office after the controversy.

After hearing the news of Qandeel’s assassination, Mufti Abdul Qawi condemned her killing and told news channels that he had forgiven her on the episode which cost him his two offices. He said that the honour killing could not be justified by any means and the killer should be arrested and punished forthwith.

AFP adds: Hundreds of women are murdered for "honour" every year in Pakistan. The killers overwhelmingly walk free because of a law that allows the family of the victim to forgive the murderer – who is often also a relative.

Filmmaker Sharmeemn Obaid-Chinoy, whose documentary on honour killings won an Oscar earlier this year, slammed Qandeel Baloch's murder as symptomatic of an "epidemic" of violence against women in Pakistan.

News of the murder was trending on social media in Pakistan, with liberal users praising Qandeel’s bravery, but some conservatives – including users identified as women – condemning her relentless self-promotion.

READ MORE: A leather jacket

In one typical comment, Twitter user @JiaAli wrote: "Someone had to do it. She was a disgrace."

But Facebook user Zaair Hussain said: "RIP Qandeel Baloch. You made us laugh, and you made us applaud," adding that history would remember her as a "provocateur".

'No woman is safe'

Qandeel Baloch shot to fame in Pakistan in 2014 after a video of her pouting at the camera and asking "How em looking?" went viral.

Her defiance of tradition and defence of liberal views won her many admirers among Pakistan's overwhelmingly young population.

But in a country where women have fought for rights for decades, and acid attacks and honour killings remain commonplace, she was also reviled by many and frequently subject to misogynist abuse. Earlier this year she vowed to perform a striptease if Pakistan's cricket team beat India at the World T20, though they later lost.

"People are going crazy – especially girls. I get so many calls where they tell me I'm their inspiration and they want to be like me," she told AFP after posting a provocative selfie on Valentine's Day.

In her last interview with a Pakistani paper she spoke of being married against her will at age 17 to "an uneducated man" with whom she had a child, adding that they later divorced.

She had reportedly spoken of leaving the country out of fear for her safety, with the newspaper reporting that her request to officials for protection had been ignored. Obaid-Chinoy told AFP the murder showed no women in Pakistan would be safe "until we start sending men who kill women to jail".

"There is not a single day where you don't pick up a paper and see a woman hasn't been killed," the maker of "A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness" told AFP, adding: "This is an epidemic".

Obaid-Chinoy's film was hailed by Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who in February vowed to push through anti-honour killing legislation.

No action has been taken since then, despite a recent fresh wave of attacks on women. "Activists have screamed themselves hoarse," said Obaid-Chinoy. "When will it stop?"

Late on Saturday night Multan police arrested Qandeel’s brother, Waseem, who confessed killing her.