Qandeel Baloch, the controversial social-media sensation, was found dead in her house in Multan, allegedly strangled to death by her own brother, Wasim. Also, the now infamous Mufti Abdul Qawi, has also been nominated in an FIR concerning Qandeel’s murder.

By way of background: Fauzia Azeem, alias Qandeel Baloch – a scandalous woman with a history of notorious stunts such as Imran Khan marriage pursuit and a strip-tease offer for Shahid Afridi – had recently published (on the internet) a series of photos and videos of herself with Mufti Qawi. n the aftermath of this brush with the cleric community, Qandeel had allegedly been receiving threats to her life and person. To this end, she had written to the Ministry of Interior for provision of special security, which request was never replied to by the concerned government officials. As a result, Qandeel decided to flee to an undisclosed location in Multan, recently, and had claimed that she would relocate abroad, in light of the persistent threats to her life.

However, as fate would have it, before any such plans could materialise, Qandeel was strangled to death by her own brother, who had wanted her to stop posting photos and videos online, and to also not pursue a career in show-business. Much like countless incidents in our past, Qandeel’s cold-blooded murder was committed in the name of… wait for it… honour! Ghairat.

And with it, for the umpteenth time over the recent years, a woman’s life was extinguished at the altar of a man’s honour. The crimson of her blood was used to wash away blotches of hypocrisy from a man’s conscience; much like the ancient ritual of sacrificing animals to pay for the sins of humanity.

Let us reverse the paradigm, in order to better understand its brutality.

Imagine a young boy, who runs away from home at the age of 19, and makes do by working odd-jobs in dingy outskirts of our urban towns. Finally, he catches a break by getting a job as a public bus operator, which is quite a step-up, considering the lack of support from his family. Eventually, after waiting outside shady rooms of random studios, he catches a gig for some show-biz work. In order to attract the public eye, he even posts scandalous photos of himself on the Internet. Finally, just as media starts to track his sensationalism, he rubs shoulders with the religious right, and exposes their hypocrisy for what it is: a deceit in the name of religion. Faced with threats to his life, he seeks refuge in his house – where his own family strangles him to death, in the middle of the night, for bringing the family name into disrepute.

How would we react to such an event? Will be shrug our shoulders, half implying that ‘he had it coming’? Would we snicker, a little, under our breath? Would we only be disappointed because now there would be a less entertainment on our Facebook feeds?

Whether one liked Qandeel Baloch is of no consequence to the issue at had. Whether one agreed with her choices for life, is absolutely irrelevant to this debate. At the surface, she seems to have been killed for ‘ruining’ the honour of her family (especially its male members). Perhaps, ostensibly, she was killed at the behest of the hypocritical religious clergy, because she had documented (in photos and videos) the horrific face of our religious right.

But none of that is true.

She was killed for choosing to live freely, in a society that tells women to shut up and disappear (behind the veil). She was killed because we could not bear to look into the mirror of hypocrisy that she had exposed us to. She was killed for pointing out who we are. For being a caricature that reflects the rot in our society. For, in many ways, being the Andy Kaufman that was a satire on our way of life. Just recently she was quoted, in an interview, saying, “Nothing is good in this society. This mardon ki society (patriarchal society) is bad. 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.”

“You could say that this is my revenge [from the society]. I don’t do these things happily.”

And in this last, comment, that her actions were somehow a “revenge” against the insidiousness of our time, is the real crime of Qandeel Baloch. And for this, we have killed her.

To live freely, especially for women, continues to be a crime in this society, where neither the law, nor the people, nor a tainted interpretation of Divine decree, allows or protects this primordial gift of humanity.

In the months and days to come, we will forgive Mufti Qawi. Just like we have forgiven others before him. He will once again join the ranks of PTI, and the ludicrous Ruet-e-Hilal Committee. He will continue to find space in our talk shows, and we will continue to bow before him as a religious scholar, just because he has a beard and memorised a few chapters from the our books of holy tradition.

Similarly, even if Qandeel’s brother is somehow caught by the police, we will find a way to set him free through the porous net of our feeble system of justice. Some honourable court, aided by a well-bribed investigation officer, will (in all likelihood) come to the conclusion that there are not enough eye-witnesses to convict the accused. And, all the while, we continue to sing praises to the honourable thrones of power and justice.

And years from now, when (if) we talk of Qandeel Baloch, we will remember how she offered to strip for the Pakistani cricket team, while not being able to recall if her murderers were ever brought to bear the might of our justice.