What is Pakistan's problem with Qandeel Baloch?

What is Pakistan's problem with Qandeel Baloch?

The infamous social media personality had her Facebook page suspended then reinstated because of mass complaints
Updated 22 Mar, 2016

This morning, many of us thought she was gone.

Qandeel Baloch, notorious for her risqué videos on social media, appeared to have amassed enough haters to get her 400,000 follower-strong Facebook page temporarily blocked.

Qandeel shot to new heights of infamy this month when she announced her intention to perform a strip dance for Pakistan cricket captain Shahid Afridi if he succeeded in leading his team to victory on the T20 match against India.

She even launched a "trailer" of her performance before the match, promising "[a full] film" upon Pakistan's victory.

The video appeared to be the tipping point for Facebook users in Pakistan. Many, many people seem to have reported her page for nudity, resulting in a temporary block on her page.

"She must be arrested for spreading vulgarity," insisted one Facebook user.

["You have spoiled the reputation of the Baloch people. You're a fake Baloch. This is shamelessness at its peak]," another said.

"To all [my] Pakistani brothers, don't get me wrong but... [if Pakistan loses tomorrow, we lose respect, and if we win tomorrow, we also lose respect.] Hahahahaha. By the way, don't get me wrong haan," said a third.

While Pakistan doesn't have problems with sex, it's apparent that it has problems with open references to sex.

According to Facebook's community standards, "photographs of people displaying genitals or focusing in on fully exposed buttocks" and "some images of female breasts if they include the nipple" are removed, while "explicit images of sexual intercourse" and "descriptions of sexual acts that go into vivid detail" are also prohibited.

It turns out that Qandeel hadn't violated any of these policies and her page was soon reinstated by Facebook.

Qandeel feigned hurt upon her return:

"Aaj se no video. Get lost tharki awam (I won't post videos on Facebook anymore. Get lost, you perverts)," she said in a message.

Facebook admits that their policies about nudity are in place "because some audiences within our global community may be sensitive to this type of content – particularly because of their cultural background or age." So what about the strip tease offer and subsequent teaser was so offensive that it organised droves on Facebook to clamp down on Qandeel?

While Qandeel is often scantily clad and behaves in sexually suggestive ways in her videos, these videos may have been her first open reference to an act of a sexual nature.

It's apparent that Pakistan has problems with open references to sex. The campaign against Qandeel is an instance of the same knee-jerk reaction that inspired the call for ban on the Josh condom ad that actually suggested that condoms are good for your sex life (and thus marriage), and not just a birth spacing mechanism, like other condom adverts.

Contrast this with the fact that we're at a time when the commercial value of sex appeal is being realised, what with item numbers being used to market big-budget films.

Is the general Pakistani entertainment-consuming audience caught between two opposing impulses?

Pakistan is seeing a surge, although slight, in people pushing their sex appeal — mainstream actresses like Mehwish Hayat and Ayesha Omar, who were hitherto only pretty faces on TV, are turning on the charm in dance numbers, while male models and actors are stripping down to reveal bare chests on Instagram. All of them toe the fine line between what's construed as morally right and wrong, and Qandeel's Facebook followers clearly think she went too far. But is this just her cover letter for a TV studio/film producer to pick her up for a big gig?

Mathira, controversial yogi/TV host who's also put up steamy photo shoots on Facebook in the past, now has signed on to two movies. Veena Malik got a Ramzan show after her nearly nude cover on FHM India, although the public outcry soon resulted in its cancellation. So, is Qandeel just capitalising on the visibility of risqué content, differentiating herself from her competition?

It's possible. Qandeel's 'career' highlights are comprised of TV appearances where her antics gave her the spotlight, much more than her TV plays and magazine shoots. The memory of her Pakistan Idol audition lingers, while she prides herself on being a morning show 'favourite', her cattiness bringing on the drama that makes ratings shoot up.

Is the general Pakistani entertainment-consuming audience caught between two opposing impulses? On the one hand we seem to have developed a taste for reality-TV culture and want to know every juicy detail about the lives of 'famous' people. On the other hand, we hold tightly to our ideas of what constitutes 'moral' vs 'immoral' behavior for these very same people.

While there's much brouhaha about objectionable/explicit content, it appears significant numbers are tuning in to watch tamer titillation on screens big and small.

So what's next? Since Qandeel's page has been reinstated, we'll just have to keep an eye on her to find out.


QB Mar 22, 2016 04:53pm
Given undue attention, showing skin is not an art but absurdity. Its definitely not talent but vulgarity. Not specific to QB but all artist trying become famous showing skin.
Fahad Mar 22, 2016 05:00pm
Let her be. I don't follow her but let her be. We shouldn't judge. live and let live. if people have an issue with her they should stop following her.
Be sensible Mar 22, 2016 05:08pm
Seems to me some kind of psychiatric issue with her. I mean you are totally free to Do any thing you like in your personal life even you share anything to the like minded people over your social network but what kind of attitude is that to put everything you do good or bad over social network and allowing general public to watch, discuss and react over it.
Tanweer Khan Mar 22, 2016 05:16pm
@Fahad Agreed - the more publicity she gets, whether good or bad, it will only increase her popularity. She is clearly using this as a platform for other avenues, just like Sunny Leone has done in Bollywood. But ultimately, if you don't like her - don't follow her. Until last week, I hadn't even heard of her - but now with the World Cup in full flow, everyone is WhatsApp'ing me her videos. So she obviously has a big following - and will quite rightly make the most of it. Best thing is to ignore her - that way she doesn't affect your day to day life.
raghu Mar 22, 2016 05:36pm
to me she is more funny than anything else
Qaiser Mar 22, 2016 05:37pm
Who is she?
NAUSHEEN M Mar 22, 2016 05:39pm
Does she really deserve to be written an article about? And did the writer really need to state the "Facebook Community Standards" here in the article? Are we running out of constructive and meaningful stuff to talk about?
atif Mar 22, 2016 05:57pm
GOD help this lady.
Sunil Mar 22, 2016 06:08pm
She knew Pakistan wont win.
Somayya Mar 22, 2016 06:13pm
I get the distinct feeling that the writer here is encouraging the on going trend of skimp clothing rampant in Pakistan today. In an already hyper sexualised world of today, the last thing one would want is its institutes giving up on conservative ideologies. Sure, our obsessive conservative society has done is much harm than good, but to turn it around and bring in the likes of Qandeel to suggest this is ok is definitely not!
NK Mar 22, 2016 06:14pm
I am a big supporter of QB, Mathira and the like. Sure - they objectify themselves in the media in a way that is not helpful to women's rights. That is a different subject and definitely worth debating. Whatever they do that is deemed morally irresponsible, it is outweighed by the fact that they are a stark mirror to the great hypocrisy that exists in Pakistan.
Ali Mar 22, 2016 06:19pm
If you have really problems with Qandeel or vulgarity then I have a simple solution for you. Please deactivate your Facebook or simply don't follow her. There is so much going on in the internet and one cant blame everyone. however, there is a way and that is to simply ignore and move on... Why did you visit her FB page by the way?
Salman Mar 22, 2016 06:24pm
May be acceptable elsewhere but no not in my home, and certainly not in my country.
Farrukh Kiani Mar 22, 2016 06:27pm
So many of us have watched this video in-person no one dares to share. Hypocrites are we!
Saadia Mar 22, 2016 06:29pm
@Fahad well said (Y)
Aamer Mar 22, 2016 06:32pm
We must put a stop to girls like Meera, Veena Malik, Sarah Loren and Qandeel Baloch. Thats what we did with Anita Ayub in the 90's where is she now. These actresses need attention so dont give it to them.
Amir Shah Mar 22, 2016 06:51pm
Yet another cheap publicity enthusiast trying her best to get some fame even if it means she drops to any level. Shame on such Pakistani and Muslim women who are looking for cheap and quick publicity at a cost of their identity.
Khwarezmi Mar 22, 2016 07:01pm
What is wrong with Qandeel? Basically everything considering how I would my daughters to be in life. Personally I could not care less.
TRON Mar 22, 2016 07:05pm
Quandeel is another version of Kanhiaya Kumar desperate to get attention of a group of people. They are very clever, opening their avenues, one in Bollywood another in Indian politics.
Karma Mar 22, 2016 07:10pm
...She is a typical bigg boss drama queen.......She should be invited to the next season.....I just love her antics......Attention seeker.
Gul Hasan Mar 22, 2016 07:30pm
If the sewerage cover is opened the stench will be obvious. The media is going uncontrolled, the restrictions should not be imposed by the government, but code of ethics or conduct must be agreed and followed by the electronic and print media. The low lives read and see the nudity rampant in international and Indian media and then individuals like Qandeel will go to any length to gain fame and attention by taking a cheap route. Pakistani entertainment is simply copying the Indians which are copying the West.
Ahmed Mar 22, 2016 07:33pm
Mark my word, she is next Bollywood trash star. That's her goal and she is fooling around to be there and she will fool many to be there.
Mudassar Mar 22, 2016 07:56pm
Awesome, and extremely pretty!
Khan Mar 22, 2016 08:22pm
Yet everyone has watched her videos and cares enough to comment...
Mudassar Mar 22, 2016 08:45pm
@Aamer These actresses need attention, and what do people need? The 400,000 followers of her profile are a classic example of what people are interested, and how double faced they are. I see this as a total corruption of the islamic values that we tout about.
Shah Mir Khan Khosa Baloch Mar 22, 2016 08:49pm
As a member of the society where we are living , its now become acceptable that we can do whatever we want. But does not mean that we have to be on peak of vulgarity. Qandeel was blocked by FB local management because of out numbered of Baloch guys reported to FB about her nudity or vulgarity. Its really shocking incident for me as a Baloch person, that an Baloch girl can do this, but after reading about her, I become to know that she is not Baloch, she grew up in Mianwali and Lahore. She is basically Mianwali according to local sources. still i believe every Pakistani women or girl should be limited upon their culture and Religious limitation. Because Izzath Ensaaniath aur Sharriath me heiy.
Ayesha Mar 22, 2016 09:09pm
The absolute issue is with our population here. It's a facebook page and everyone has discretion of liking the page. Qandeel has not coerced anyone of the 400,000 into following her. Whist everyone keenly views and shares the videos, everyone also criticises and reports the page for exactly what they enjoyed watching 10 seconds before; as if to feel better about their ownselves. It's nothing but a case of sheer hypocrisy that seems to be strongly embedded in the very core of our society.
rUSTOM e hIND Mar 22, 2016 09:37pm
Hippocrates really why watch her videos, y visit her fb ect ect I have never seen her , maybe now I will see, after the PAK/NZ match
Yasmin Mar 22, 2016 09:52pm
The title of this article made me laugh! The answer I thought would be obvious! Pakistan by and large is a conservative Muslim country. The skin show displayed by this woman is against Pakistani sensibilities in general. But then again some Pakistani female drama/ film actresses are showing exactly same amount of skin but they are apparently 'accepted'
Indigo nation Mar 22, 2016 10:31pm
Love and respect for Qandeel Baloch. Leave the lady alone.
Umair Mar 22, 2016 11:10pm
Our problem is that most of the time our so called "Izzat" is defined not by our actions but by actions of others.If someone don't agree with what she does no one is forcing them to follow her page.
faisal Mar 22, 2016 11:22pm
Big deal - get over it. biggots
Thoroughthinker Mar 23, 2016 12:07am
Does it require any explanation?
AdHawk Mar 23, 2016 12:31am
Good for her. Make the closeted bigots (I mean Pakistanis) squirm. There's nothing shameful about sex.
Gulsher Mar 23, 2016 01:02am
What is Qandeel Baloch's problem with Pakistan?
nasiroski Mar 23, 2016 05:36am
Why Pakistanis don't let people live their life the way they like. It's not that this girl is bringing herself to their faces, they are clicking a link by their choice to watch her whatever she is doing.
Farouq Omaro Mar 23, 2016 05:55am
She is an adult, let her enjoy her life. If those people don't like what she does on Facebook why even bother read her posts.
salman baloch Mar 23, 2016 09:53am
Beautiful &Twisted
Shafiq Mar 23, 2016 10:12am
let her do anything she wants, if you do not like anything do not follow, its very simple.. she is good entertainer i think,
Rigg Mar 23, 2016 10:36am
When asked once in an interview on a morning show if nudity is important for fame, Qandeel responded: YES. IT'S VERY IMPORTANT.
Adnan Mazher Khan Mar 23, 2016 11:04am
Pakistan lost to India just save us fromthe torture of Qandeel Baloch. Well played Afridi and Co.
Einstein Babar Mar 23, 2016 11:46am
I never used facebook but I am still alive, living in one of the most modern cities of the world, people say that it is a miracle.
Ali Mar 23, 2016 12:25pm
Hard truth Pakistani specially these keyboard jihadi's are just bigots and hypocrites.
Aa2544 Mar 23, 2016 12:25pm
Funny thing was that all these people who reported her, had enough time to watch her video ( and I am sure majority would have watched it many times), and then went on to report her........ She was right by saying Tharki Awaam
K Mar 23, 2016 02:14pm
Well I don't support nor hope that Qandeel Baloch should do strip video if ever Pakistan wins but everyday I am surprised by the hypocrisy of our people. They surely were following her on FB, and even if she had posted a strip video, I am sure 99% would watch it before they report it.
FB Mar 23, 2016 02:15pm
@NAUSHEEN M - can't agree more. Really poor content selection.
FB Mar 23, 2016 02:22pm
@Salman - then leave Facebook, as its full of such crap.
Farhan B Mar 23, 2016 03:20pm
The problem is simple. If people say that Religion should be kept private and is a matter between God and man then i say vulgarity should also be kept private and spreading it in society should be a punishable crime.
Siri Mar 23, 2016 03:40pm
An exhibisionist crying for attention. Just skip her if you don't like her, which I do.
Agha Mar 23, 2016 08:51pm
@QB Absurdity or vulgarity, its their choice. Don't like it, don't watch it. No one is dictating, neither should anyone else dictate celebrities, stars or whatever.
Agha Mar 23, 2016 08:52pm
@NAUSHEEN M You certainly read the article so in short yes.
Badar Saleem Mar 24, 2016 09:27pm
She wants attention that's what she's getting if she gets no attention she will dissappear she is the unfortunate product of our obsession with social media her detractors are probably her best fans she does in public what our so called upholders of decency and wholesome values do in private more power to her maybe she should start her own political party and call it the liberal party with all her fans she should win by a landslide