[December 2015]

Friends: Yar let’s do a dubsmash on Qandeel Baloch .

Me: Who’s she?

Friends: Don’t you know?! Buhot bari item hai! *copying Qandeel’s voice* Imran Khan mujhse shadi karloo! *laughter ensues*

[March 2016]

Friends: Yar have you watched what Qandeel has done this time?

Me: What?

Friends: Astagfirullah! go to her Facebook page. She is so beghairat!

[April 2016]

Friends: Qandeel...

Me: Why do you guys follow her page if you dislike her so much?

Friends: Wo kare aur hum dekhein bhi na?

Thus goes the story of this one girl, Fauzia Azeem who allegedly faced domestic abuse added to marriage at an immature age to a man she did not like, and fled to make life as a controversial celebrity, Qandeel Baloch .

Last year, I was wondering one day why the page Khabees Orat was named so pejoratively when it was actually just humorous feminism. Then I got to know gradually that all women who dare to upset the status quo, do not conform to the standards of morality set by men, or raise a voice are actually inherently “khabees” for our male dominated society - be it Marvi Sirmed being bashed by a cleric for her audacity to disagree, or be it Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy for “showing the wrong face of Pakistan to the world” (I have still to figure out the right face by the way), Mukhtaran Mai for not committing suicide and daring to live after committing the offence of getting raped- or be it Qandeel Baloch for daring to expose a Mufti Saab or making immaturely controversial videos on Facebook where all her haters eagerly watched the space for a new video and afterwards commented, “Do the world a favor and die please!”. “Khabees” is the tag with which men identify these women through vilification, which has many other levels like “slut” “tawaif” “beghairat”.

In our part of the world, aggressive or outspoken women are an abnormality, but men endowed with the same qualities are the norm. When men do certain antics, we say, “Men will be men, you know”- and when women do the same antics, “Where is the world heading towards!”

For my part, I do not find much difference between Amir Liaqat and Qandeel Baloch—the difference being that she never lied about who she was or pretended to be someone other than herself.

If she had been born in some other country, she would probably have been accepted by the society as a Kardashian-celebrity and the society would have moved on. But no, we are the Islamic Republic of Pakistan espousing the glorious principles of ghairat (honour). How could we let it go? So her ghairatmand brother strangled her to preserve the honour of the family. And brought the family’s long-lost honour back.

Because this is a fascinating society where feminism is feared and masculinity is cheered. Feminists are “home-breakers” and domestic abuse victims who stay silent are “home-makers”. The former are “nafarmaan” and the latter are “jannati”. A society where killing women does not bring a bad repute, but this news being spread internationally definitely destroys the ‘image’ of our country. Society where one call of “tawaif” will involuntarily be taken up by thousands to destroy a woman who dares to defy the society. Society where the men who watch porn daily can kill their sisters or wives any day “kyun ke wo phone pe larke se baat kar rai thi”. Society where the honour of an entire community is placed inside female organs. So that women can conveniently be punished whenever an issue of honour is raised. “Wo to larka hai uski izzat pe kya farq parta hai. Tum to larki thi, tumhe aisa karne ka haq kisne diya!”. Society where in a quarrel between men, their sisters and mothers get called dirty names (because that’s where the honour lies, you know).

I have an innocent question to ask: Why does any immoral activity of a boy not bring the honour of the family down? Do males have no honour to protect? Then should we call men “beghairat” because according to their logic, they inherently do not possess any honour to defend!?

Did I like Qandeel Baloch ? No. Am I presenting her as a great female icon for us to lionize and follow? No. But what I dislike more is the hypocrisy of this seemingly moral society that daily shames or kills women into silence because it fears the breakdown of a mythical entity known as “khandaani nizaam”.

This is the wondrous society of Manto where women can easily be prostitutes, but cannot pull a horse-cart for a living. This is the same society where men who deliver harangues in the morning on morality would frequent red-light areas in the evening and that would never be considered an assault on the morality on the nation (Men will be men, don’t you know?) This is the society where Qavis thrive and Qandeels are murdered. This is the society where women who wish to live by their rules have to live under the label of “khabees” because that is what society identifies them as.

Cue the voice of Abdul Qavi:

'Mai baqi khawateen aur logon ko ye peghaim dena chahta hoon k ainda ulema ko badnaam karne ki koshish karne se pehle is aurat k anjaam ko dekh lain'