Prominent Baloch activist found deceased in mysterious circumstances in Canada – world news

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Prominent Baloch activist Karima Baloch used to be found deceased in unexplained circumstances in the Canadian city of Toronto on Monday, a day after she used to be reported lacking by the native police.

Karima Baloch, a former chairperson of the Baloch Students Association-Azad (BSO-Azad), is the second one prominent Baloch campaigner to be found deceased in another country this year. In April, the body of Baloch journalist Sajid Hussain Baloch used to be found outdoor Uppsala in Sweden, weeks after he went lacking.

Toronto police had reported that Karima, 37, had gone lacking in the city’s waterfront area on December 20. The police later said she used to be “located” but didn’t offer more details.

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Karima’s death used to be reported by both Balochistan Times and The Balochistan Post, leading news websites aimed at the Baloch community. Balochistan Times reported she used to be “found deceased in Toronto” and that her “circle of relatives has not given more details and asked for privacy”.

“Her sudden and unexplained disappearance and death has raised serious concerns,” The Balochistan Post reported. Other reports said Karima’s husband Hammal Haidar and her brother identified the body.

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.

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.

Karima’s asylum request used to be suspended by the Canadian province of Ottawa in 2016 as a result 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.

In 2016, Karima recorded a video message on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan, in which she called Prime Minister Narendra Modi a “brother” and asked him to change into 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 change into the voice of the sisters of Baloch…We can fight this on our own, we just want you to change into 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 would like 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 Baloch 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 as a result of his work as a journalist.

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