A year later, Qandeel Baloch is remembered by the women who knew her best (Part 1)

Qandeel's mother and sister look back at her life before her untimely demise
Updated 17 Jul, 2017

Qandeel Baloch was a rebel, she did what she wanted to do. You may remember her from her viral clips on social media, her quirky outfits, maybe even her music video.

This weekend will be her first death anniversary. A year after her tragic demise, filmmaker Saad Khan is trying to remember her for the person she was, with stories about Qandeel's life from people who knew her best.

Talking to Images, Khan explained, "The press chooses to highlight things that sell, they like to portray working-class women in a certain way and even working-class men as savages. They just never focused on humanising her. These stories that we're telling, they come from the same people that were hounded by the media after her death but these questions were never asked, these memories were never shared."

"Everyone's been so fixated on her horrific death and understandably so but we just generally give more mileage to sensational news. These stories focus on who she was as a person."

These stories, that have been uploaded on a Facebook page called Qandeel Ki Kahani are excerpts from interviews conducted by Saad and documentary filmmaker Tazeen Bari with Qandeel's sister and mother and aim to highlight Qandeel's working-class life.

The page reads: “Qandeel Baloch successfully climbed the socio-economic ladder in a country where the class you're born into dictates who you are, what opportunities you'll get, and what you can do. She defied all that and became Pakistan's social media superstar. Rest in power, Qandeel (1990 - 2016)”

"These first-hand oral stories are immensely important. They provide correctives to the caricatured version of Qandeel we were so comfortable consuming without giving her any nuance and human agency," added Khan.

"Oral history gives voice to the narratives not privileged to be archived into the history books or reported by the media. They will always be questioned by those in power, but they don’t need any proof. For proofs are for the privileged, the unconsoled poor can just tell you what happened."

Qandeel Ki Kahani (Part I): Why is Qandeel a Baloch

Qandeel's sister: "I called her Fauzia. She changed her name to Qandeel Baloch after she joined the media. When I met her two years ago, I asked her why she had changed her name to Qandeel. She said that she changed her name because the people she worked with didn’t know she was a single woman working alone, that she didn’t have any support from her family.

She would say that people don’t know that I am actually alone, that only my parents are with me. That the rest of my relatives are not with me. They don’t know that. But if she told them her name was Qandeel Baloch, they’d assume she was a Baloch girl. This would make them think twice before saying anything to her, they’d be scared of saying anything to her if they thought she belonged to the Baloch family... it was only when people found out, when the media told everyone she isn’t a Baloch girl, that she’s from a poor family... Whatever happened to my sister, first it was Mufti Qawi, and then it was the media who caused my sister’s death."

Qandeel Ki Kahani (Part II): When Edhi Saab Brought a Lost Girl Back Home

Qandeel's sister: "Our mother wanted her girls to study. No girl in our family really went to school before. People would say to my father, ‘Look, your girls are going to study now.’ Then our relatives – my father’s relatives – would also admonish him for sending us to school. My father didn’t say anything, but our mother put her foot down and said no, her daughters would go to school. So we went.

Qandeel used to play with dolls. One day she was playing with her cousins and told them, ‘Tomorrow I am going to my grandmother’s house. That’s where I will get beautiful clothes for the dolls, and the clothes will be more beautiful than the ones you have.’ Our grandmother was a seamstress.

Next day after school she went to the bus station and got on a wagon [bus]. She was studying in Class 4, so she was probably 12 or 13.

She sat on the wagon without confirming which one it was, whether it was going to DG Khan or Multan. She just sat down and kept going. DG Khan passed her by or didn’t, we don’t know.

The wagon made a stop at the station in Multan, that’s where she got off. She didn’t know where she was. She was so young that she started crying. There was a shopkeeper sitting nearby watching her. He approached her, showed her some love, and asked her ‘Where do you want to go, child? Where are you from?’

She told him she was from Shah Dar Din, and that she wanted to go to her grandmother’s house in DG Khan. He told her she had accidentally come to Multan. She started crying even more. He took her to Edhi Home and left her there.

We were all so worried, we didn’t have mobile phones back then. At that time, you had to go from house to house to find someone. We kept looking for her, asking around. Four to five days passed. No one cooked in our house… our mother became hysterical, crying all day. She was thinking someone must have kidnapped her, got a hold of her. 'Where had Fauzia disappeared?' she would keep on saying.

Then, one day, at night it had rained heavily. Abdul Sattar Edhi – you have heard of him, right? – he brought Qandeel back.

We were all sitting around a fire inside, worried. That’s when he called out. He told us he had asked her [Fauzia] how she would get back home. She told him to take her to the village, from where she’d tell him the rest of the way. A wagon took them to the Shah Sadar Din stop. They got off there. She told Abdul Sattar Edhi, ‘Now that you’ve got me here, I’ll take you to my house.’ She called out to us from outside.

My father went outside. He came back with Fauzia and Abdul Sattar Edhi. It was very cold. My father – we were all really happy, wondering how she ended up with him. So then he told us. We asked her where she’d been. She told us that she had been on her way to grandmother’s house, to get clothes for her dolls, but then she didn’t know where she ended up.

My father had also put out an ad in the newspaper. That’s how he [Edhi] found out. He had also seen the ad with the address. We’d printed her photo.

That night he [Edhi] stayed with us, in our thatched room. We gave him iftari. Made chai and eggs, fed him. It was cold, his clothes were drenched so we gave him our father’s clothes. He wore them. In the morning, our father went and dropped him off to the wagon stop.

That was the first time Fauzia ever got onto a Hius [the van]. From that day on she was never allowed to go back to school anymore."

Edhi Saab and Qandeel passed away in 2016, a week apart. Qandeel's body was transported by Edhi Saab's ambulance team.

Qandeel Ki Kahani (Part III): Growing up in Shah Sadar Din

Anwar Bibi (Qandeel's mother): "It's not enough no matter how much you talk about her. There are so many stories. This is where her bed was. She took good care of me.

Here was placed the TV. Her books used to be on the TV table. Here used to be the electricity board. Everything was here. Her pillows, her bed, everything used to be here. We used to make food in this room too, morning and evening. All of us were living in this one room.

She'd remain busy in her studies. She was the school monitor. Class monitor. The teacher[s] wouldn't bother her. They'd say, "Fauzia is very clean. She comes in wearing well-ironed uniform every day. Her shoes are clean. Her socks all clean. Jacket's clean. Her gloves clean. Nothing is untidy."

If she got tired of watching TV, she'd study. If she got tired of studying, she'd say her prayers and read the Quran. She used to come [to the fields] whenever she felt like, to cut the grass, by her own choice. If she wasn't in school or studying, and [when] she felt like.

She'd say, "Maa, give me a sickle. I want to cut the grass." When she cut the grass, she'd cut her hand. When she cut wheat, she'd cut her hand again.

When I asked her to knead the flour, she'd mess up her hands. She'd say, "Maa, I just can't manage it." When I asked her to bake bread, she couldn't bake bread. She'd burn her hand instead. "Maa, I have burned my hand."

When I asked her to cook a dish, she'd burn her hand when stirring it. She'd say, "Maa, that's unfair. I am going to be a teacher."

I'd tell her to learn it at least. "You will get married and go to another house. Over there, wouldn't you bake bread for your husband?"

"I will not bake any bread for him. I will not marry," she would respond...

"Maa, I don't want to marry and don't you ever get me married."

More of Qandeel's stories will be published on our site tomorrow.


common & immaterial Jul 14, 2017 04:38pm
sympathy for the way she died, but otherwise she was total waste. May be her earlier life to blame but same can not the excuse. There many advocating her but would they want their daughters to do the same that she did. My request to media.. Pls stop glorifying her, she has done nothing worth celebrating at national stage. Let this poor soul, truly rest in peace.
monier Jul 14, 2017 05:04pm
A simple girl from a below average household tried to fight the odds in an odd way.
ABCD Jul 14, 2017 05:27pm
After killing her, now Society will praise her as an angel.
solomon the king Jul 14, 2017 06:43pm
sad she has become another story in the history pages, while her killer or killers are still on the loose, free. From Mukhtaran Mai to Qandeel became highlights, and inspirations, but these victims also left many questions and doubts in the minds that were thinking to dare and challenge the control-freaks of this society
shams Jul 14, 2017 06:51pm
Her end was most tragic. Its painful :(
Fuzail Jul 14, 2017 06:57pm
I fail to fathom how can people somehow find inspiration in a character like Qandeel. She might have faced uncommon ups and downs in life, she might have been a good person, but, she certainly has not been meritorious enough to be made part of national discourse surrounding women issues/empowerment. There are better stories of women which can serve serve the cause of equality much more effectively.
nirmal maunder Jul 14, 2017 07:00pm
The woman who dared and was silenced . RIP
Adeel Saleem Jul 14, 2017 07:09pm
Story about Abdus Sattar Edhi was touching. Such a noble gentleman he was.
sam Jul 14, 2017 07:16pm
sad:(( its still shocking her death
MB Jul 14, 2017 07:18pm
miss her
Hyder Jul 14, 2017 08:23pm
Sir It is so sad that a girl next door with dreams to be successful was unjustly projected as a society girl that ultimately led to her murder. May God bless her soul, amen Hyder
braingain Jul 14, 2017 08:52pm
RIP, sweet princess
Imran Ahmed Jul 14, 2017 09:33pm
A young woman who insisted on being who she was and stood up to those who want to control women's sexuality and define their identity.
Afzal Khwaja Jul 14, 2017 10:13pm
A real story of a courageous woman from which to learn that women are human like men and must have freedom and equality. Though a tough road for women in Pakistan, but education must be spread through real stories like Qandeel's.
Bert Jul 14, 2017 10:15pm
Her murder was the reminder of absurdities that our society is going through. Buth, let's be honest now, she was not a character worthy of celebration that you are doing. It's better to remember her murder case than her.
Ali Jul 14, 2017 10:58pm
@common & immaterial well said!
Ali Jul 14, 2017 10:59pm
@Fuzail well said!
Awais Jul 15, 2017 12:01am
Intolerant society. We need to accept people in their shape. They dont need to conform to our morals and values Qandeel was a free spirited person and the narrow mindedness of our society killed her. If not for this killer someone else would have done it, it was a matter time. We need to change the way we think and practice to be custodians of Morals of the society which we think are right but at the end of the day it is only our perspective
TraGIC Jul 15, 2017 01:13am
no one on the face of this earth say things with certainty and this is the crux of philosophy. But it's highly tragic to take the life of someone like that or anyone for that matter. RIP
Vaibhav Munshi Jul 15, 2017 02:14am
As they say , "everyone loves you when you're dead "
aamir Jul 15, 2017 02:52am
May God bless her soul, Amen
tango Jul 15, 2017 05:19am
No. of all things, she had right to LIFE.damn to mysogyn
Quresh Jul 15, 2017 06:57am
@common & immaterial .......... Great comment but media does not have common sense.
khan Jul 15, 2017 08:22am
Very painful story. She deserved all the happiness in life and they gave her death. I miss her.
Atif Jul 15, 2017 08:29am
A happy, free-spirited, young girl was brutally murdered in the name of who-knows-what ! Pakistan needed more of these people than the sheep who do not have the courage to push boundaries.
NAeem Jul 15, 2017 09:01am
@Fuzail She was rebelling against the vile Pakistani system trying to be independent and showing the country that women should be heard and respected for wat they believe in she exposed the Mullah for wat true colours this guy was she was not the one Who lied to anyone she just told how it really was out there And if u cannot fathom it out yet then when will the likes of some learn so that our society and culture cannot go on repressing women any more respect women and they will respect you a voice that was cruely silenced for just being herself I never heard her of being corrupt a liar etc etc or into hidden practises she was just doing her job. We need to educate the masses and open our eyes do not be silenced no one needs to celebrate her just remember the system she was up against and how it needs to change
Jk22 Jul 15, 2017 11:08am
I am from India and I admired this gal for her courage and outspoken attitude. How from a poor family and with little education she had this dream of coming out of the shackles bestowed upon her since she was born as Girl child in male dominated society. It's funny to see how educated lot reading about her and commenting on her character and life in such condescending manner knowing that they have done nothing as good and as brave as she did in their life. Nobody know abt these tiny ants who are spewing venom against her But everyone even across border people know about Qandeel and that's self explanatory about the quality of life she lived and other people who are still living. Nobody has right to decide about what a girl or man should wear and wear not ! You can't make Rose as benchmark and declare other scentless flowers useless in a garden. If you like Rose only then just simply ignore the Lilies ! Don't just try to kill her over n over again with your stupid arrogant comments !
Riaz Jul 15, 2017 11:09am
Very tragic, good or bad who are we to judge. We should let her rest in peace. No doubt God will will forgive. I felt sad when she was killed, she tried make it her way.
Khalifa Jul 15, 2017 01:01pm
@common & immaterial How on earth can you pass a verdict on a person you only know through a selected trail of media images? There are many aspects in her life and tragic death that are not completely known. If we as a society decide to bury the truth with the people who are not familiar stereo types, then there will be no stop to these viscous social responses. Do not forget the fact that she was killed by the misguided kin who was eating bread earned by her by acts some consider not celebrating!
Babur-I-Azam Jul 15, 2017 02:37pm
For me the woman that struggles to raise her children by fighting the system daily without making lewd images her bread and butter is more deserving for praise and a liberator of the female movement in our country..
saqib ghumman Jul 15, 2017 09:09pm
A couragous wonen who showed real face of hippocrates....
Adeel Jul 15, 2017 11:18pm
@common & immaterial Agreed
Adeel Jul 15, 2017 11:19pm
@Fuzail very right
Adeel Jul 15, 2017 11:25pm
@NAeem "trying to be independent and showing the country that women should be heard and respected for wat they believe in" Her way was not the correct way to show how women should be heard and respected. With all due reverence, dear will you allow your wife or sister to follow her ways to teach this country women's rights. Please be considerate.
Adeel Jul 15, 2017 11:26pm
@Khalifa brother those mdia images were also her choice
Adeel Jul 15, 2017 11:26pm
@Babur-I-Azam true
ISLAMmuradbaloch Jul 16, 2017 07:00pm
I want to join and i want give aids
Pichai Jul 17, 2017 05:00am
@common & immaterial ; So are you, Mr./Ms "Common and immaterial" (even though you are mAde of matter! Such callousness ! "Q.B." died because of a severely judgmental and intrusive social system. If you cherish your own freedom of choice, then, let others choose codes of conduct to others! Did "Q.B." hurt you personally?
Pichai Jul 17, 2017 05:02am
@Fuzail : Fuzail--you are the only perfect ONE,right?
Pichai Jul 17, 2017 06:03am
@Adeel :There is no "correct" way. Stop thinking is black and white, either/or, absolutes!
Beauty Parlours in panchkula Jul 17, 2017 05:12pm
This is a great article.Qandeel Ki Kahani I really enjoyed this is very helpful to me. thanks for sharing this awesome. information with us
Dr Nasim Ashraf Jul 18, 2017 03:48pm
A non conformist rebel! A rarity ! Rest in POWER Ms
h Jul 19, 2017 02:33am
people here are really missing the point. no one is 'praising' her for her life or her actions, the reason why she has become famous is because of the injustice and wrongdoing that surrounds her death, Qandeel has become a symbol for womens empowerment because her she was the victim of an honour killing, a depraved system that shouldn't even exist. By calling her a 'total waste' , you're in denial of the real issue at hand, and a sick individual too.
saz Jul 19, 2017 12:42pm
The media and journalists who investigated her background and brought that to public during her life did exceptionally unethical act. When she did not disclose who she was by herself then digging her history and publishing it in newspapers and in TV shows is so unjust, corrupt and unethical act. I wonder are there any ethics for journalism. Projecting her real background and identity became one of the factors that instigated her murder. Previously no one knew her background but media exposed her and her family with their actual roots. That caused unrest among his brothers and family members. Media played it's negative role. I request news agencies and media to respect some one's personal life, actual identity and kindly avoid publishing aspects what some one had kept hidden. This is not bringing truth to public rather this is breech of confidentiality and interfering in one's personal sphere. It is ones prerogative to keep things hidden and media has no right to expose that.
iraj Jul 20, 2017 01:16am
@Fuzail I truly agree. She might have fought against the odds, but she is not someone our respected women should follow
Rohi Jul 21, 2017 09:54am
@Jk22 , whatta level of maturity and understanding of human life, great bro....dig urself deep in and be what you are....Keep it up