Pakistani Model Qandeel Baloch Murdered in ‘Honor Killing’

The model, actress and social media personality was found strangled in her home near Multan, Pakistan on Friday night

Qandeel Baloch, a popular model known for pushing the boundaries of what is considered acceptable behavior for women in Pakistan, was likely strangled in an honor killing on Friday.

Though Baloch’s autopsy is still underway, local police chief Azhar Akram said that the cause of death is highly suspected to be strangulation, according to NBC News. Akram also confirmed to reporters that Baloch’s brother, who is a prime suspect in the murder, is currently missing.

Baloch’s parents told the Express Tribune that one her brothers, Wasim, had killed her following an argument. Family sources also told the Tribune that Baloch’s brothers — she had six — had asked her to quit modeling.

Baloch, whose real name was Fauzia Azeem, recently stirred controversy amongst conservative Pakistanis after she posted a photo of herself with Mufti Qavi, a Muslim cleric. AP reported that in the photo, Baloch said the two of them had enjoyed soft drinks and some cigarettes together in the daylight hours during Ramadan, the holy month in which Muslims fast from dawn to dusk.

The controversial photo led to Qavi’s removal from the government’s official moon-sighting committee, which is responsible for determining when Ramadan starts and ends.

Baloch had requested security protection from the Interior Ministry but was denied, according to NBC News.

On social media, Baloch was known for posting inspirational messages to women to stand up for themselves.

Baloch’s case is widely being considered an “honor killing,” whereby a person — typically a woman — is killed by a family member for doing something considered to be disgraceful.