The victim, Qandil Baloch, whose real name is Fawzia Azim, was a twenty-six-year-old brunette woman who was known for her permanent looks with a modern look, with a great interest in hairdressing and make-up.
In 2019, the Pakistani judiciary sentenced her brother, Muhammad Waseem, to life imprisonment, who boasted that he had strangled her because of her “unacceptable behaviour”.
Under a recent amendment to Pakistani law, it is no longer possible for the family of a victim who has been killed in so-called honor killings to forgive the killer, who is often a member of the family, which would have allowed them to escape prosecution.
However, this forgiveness is still possible in other cases of murder, according to AFP.
On Monday, an appeals judge ruled that Baloch’s killing could not be classified as an “honour killing”. He nullified Muhammad Waseem’s confession and declared his acquittal of the crime.
According to the appeal ruling issued on Friday, the man was acquitted “on the basis of a settlement” between the concerned parties, and the judge considered that the killer’s confession of the crime “was nothing but ink on paper.”
At first, Qandil Baloch’s parents confirmed that their murderer son could not be “forgiveable”, before they changed their words and justified his action.
Agence France-Presse quoted the mother’s lawyer, Safdar Shah, as saying she had given her “consent” to her son’s forgiveness.
Muhammad Waseem was released Saturday from a prison in the eastern city of Multan, after six years of imprisonment.
The lawyer for the victim’s brother, Sardar Mahbub, explained that “Waseem is now free under the injunction” issued by the Lahore Court, and he has become a “free man”.
The Pakistani Information Minister Fouad Chaudhry had said earlier that the government would appeal the ruling of the Court of Appeal before the highest judicial body in Pakistan.
“We as a nation should be ashamed of ourselves to have such a judicial system,” he wrote on Twitter.
Representative Malika Bukhari indicated that the government will “examine the judicial options” available after the acquittal decision.