Prominent Baloch activist Karima Baloch used to be found deceased in unexplained circumstances in the Canadian city of Toronto on Tuesday, a day after she used to be reported lacking by the native police.
Karima, a former chairperson of the Baloch Students Organisation Azad (BSO-Azad), is the second one prominent Baloch campaigner to be found deceased out of the country this year. In April, the body of Baloch journalist Sajid Hussain Baloch used to be found out of doors Uppsala in Sweden, weeks after he had gone lacking.
Toronto Police had reported that Karima, 37, had gone lacking in the city’s waterfront area on December 20.
In a commentary released on Tuesday morning, Toronto Police said the matter used to be “currently being investigated as a non-criminal death and there aren’t believed to be any suspicious circumstances”.
Toronto-based Zaffar Baloch, former president of Baloch National Movement (North The usa) said, “Mystery shrouds this event. This must not be brushed aside. We have our suspicions.”
Amnesty International said in a tweet, “The death of activist #KarimaBaloch in Toronto, Canada is deeply shocking and should be immediately and effectively investigated. The perpetrators should be brought to justice without recourse to the death penalty.”
Karima used to be included in BBC’s list of 100 inspirational and influential women for 2016, in which she used to be described as a campaigner “for independence for Balochistan from Pakistan”. She fled Pakistan in 2016, saying she feared for her life because of threats from the army and intelligence agencies, and sought refuge in Canada.
Prominent activist Gulalai Ismail, herself living in exile in the United States after escaping from Pakistan in 2019, said she used to be devastated by the news of Karima’s death. “I am devastated by the truth that even refuge in Canada couldn’t save her life. The stories of Baloch don’t change. They go lacking and are then found deceased. Be it Pakistan, Sweden or Canada.”
Karima’s asylum request used to be suspended by the Canadian province of Ottawa in 2016 on account of BSO-Azad’s involvement in “subversion” against the Pakistan government, but she used to be allowed to remain in the country, according to Canadian media reports.
She used to be seen as a pioneer of women’s activism in Balochistan and had raised the issue of Balochistan in UN sessions in Switzerland. In 2014, she became the first woman chairperson of BSO-Azad, which has been proscribed by the Pakistan government as a terrorism group.
In 2016, Karima had shared a video message on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan, in which she called Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi a “brother” and asked him to turn out to be the voice of the Baloch movement. This used to be days after Modi raised the Balochistan issue in his Independence Day speech.
“We appeal to you that, as our brother, you speak approximately the genocide and war crimes in Balochistan on international forums and turn out to be the voice of the sisters of Baloch… We can fight this on our own, we just want you to turn out to be the voice of our struggle,” Karima said in the message.
At an event held by Baloch Canadians in Toronto in 2018 to mark what they claimed to be the 70th anniversary of the unlawful occupation of Balochistan by Pakistan, Karima said, “We wish India to bring the issue as a human rights cause.” She felt this used to be an “important role” India could play, since atrocities against the Baloch were not on the world’s radar.
Karima also said at the time that India had the reach to bring what she described as the “genocide” of the Baloch people.
Baloch journalist Sajid Hussain used to be reported lacking in Sweden in March, and his body used to be later found in a river. His friends and family alleged he used to be murdered. Reporters Without Borders (RSF), the journalists’ organisation, said his mysterious disappearance and subsequent death could have been organised by Pakistani intelligence agencies on account of his work as a journalist.[ad_2]