In the past one month or so we have grieved over several deaths of known faces of Pakistan. Amjab Sabri, Abdul Sattar Edhi and now Qandeel Baloch. While Sabri and Edhi were the apple of everyone’s eyes, Baloch was not everyone’s favorite. In fact, I will be condemned for even mentioning her name in the same breath as the former two. Nevertheless, they all belong to the same ground now and their soul departed to the same sky.
What’s changed now is that we suddenly stopped making jokes about Baloch’s selfies and music videos but are standing up for her killing in the name of honor. There is nothing much that Baloch actually did to change that. She simply died, that too at the hands of someone else. So why is she such a darling now? She is because we have become so skilled at mourning and condemning that it only takes her death for her to become a favorite.
There is nothing wrong with condemning what’s wrong. Those who thought her actions were so condemned that in her life, and those who believe her death is unjust condemn that today. However, we fail to see that between her life and death what remained same was that she was a human after all. And humans come in all shapes, sizes, characters, personalities and kinds with imperfections. What’s different is that she is no more there to make us uncomfortable while flipping news channels or become the subject of memes and tweets. But today, we feel sad for her death even if we found her a nuisance before.
Alas, it may all be a publicity stunt in her life but it must not be overlooked that amidst controversy, Baloch asked for security and planned to move abroad. But her demands were ignored. In fact, the failure to obtain security rings familiar as we heard in Sabri’s killing case also that there was no response to his demand. I was also one of those to believe she only wants to move because she is done with her job in Pakistan. Why would someone threaten her? Who would want to kill her? She herself brings such wrath upon herself! Such were the reactions to her call for security because we believe people existing as a fragile human capable of dying in seconds when they become a laughing stock for us.
However, the unfortunate truth today is that loved or unloved, notorious or respected, everyone has adversaries with guts enough to execute heinous crimes. It takes us seconds to die but months and years for people to get over your weaknesses in your life. There is just something about death that rings so close to us that we are willing to forgive and forgo something we were extremely hung up on even a night ago. This is true for families, celebrities and now even starlets who were constantly bashed.
Perhaps, it is so easy to kill someone in Pakistan today because it is easy to understand someone once they die, it is easier to exist with imperfections as a body than a living person.