Pakistan’s Baloch political activist discovered lifeless in Canada: Stories

Islamabad, December 22

Pakistani political activist Karima Baloch, who campaigned extensively against disappearances and human rights violations in the troubled Balochistan province, has been found dead in Toronto, media reports here said on Tuesday.

The 37-year-old activist, who was living in exile in Canada for about five years, had gone missing on Sunday. Her family filed a missing person complaint at a local police station in Toronto.

Citing Toronto Police, Dawn newspaper reported that she was last seen in the Bay Street and Queens Quay West area in Toronto on Sunday.

The Toronto police had circulated Baloch’s pictures and details of her appearance on their website and appealed people reach out if they had any information.

Several hours later police reported that Baloch had been “located”.

Details regarding her death and disappearance have, however, not yet been released, SAMAA news channel reported.

Baloch, a critic of the Pakistani government and powerful military, had campaigned extensively against disappearances and human rights violations in Balochistan.

In 2016, she was named on BBC’s list of 100 inspirational women. At 30, Baloch was the first woman to become the leader of the Balochistan Student Organisation, the channel said.

She left Pakistan in 2015, after terrorism charges were levelled against her. Her family said she had been given death threats.

Her sister told the BBC Urdu service on Tuesday that her death was “not only a tragedy for the family, but also for the Baloch national movement”.

“She didn’t go abroad because she wanted to, but because… open activism in Pakistan had become impossible,” Mahganj Baloch was quoted as saying by the BBC Urdu service.

The Balochistan National Movement has announced a 40-day mourning period.

“The death of activist Karima Baloch in Toronto, Canada is deeply shocking and must be immediately and effectively investigated. The perpetrators must be brought to justice without recourse to the death penalty,” Amnesty International South Asia said in a tweet. PTI

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