Pakistani human rights activist Karima Baloch, 37, was found dead in Toronto, Canada on Monday. Baloch went missing on Sunday. The Toronto Police stated that “the circumstances have been investigated and officers have determined this to be a non-criminal death and no foul play is suspected.”
Baloch was from Balochistan, Pakistan. As a campaigner, she criticized the Pakistani military and state. Baloch was the head of the Baloch Students’ Organization (BSO) activist group. She left Pakistan in 2015 because of threats. Baloch lived in Toronto for five years.
Baloch continued to campaign for the rights of people in Balochistan while in exile, and the threats against her did not stop after she left Pakistan. Baloch’s close friend, Lateef Johar Baloch, stated that she had recently received anonymous threats.
It is alleged that thousands of campaigners from Balochistan have gone missing over the past several years. Journalist Sajid Hussain was found dead in Sweden in May. Hussain was living in exile and had written about human rights violations in Balochistan. The Pakistani military has been accused of “brutally suppressing the region’s aspirations for autonomy” and denies these accusations.
Amnesty International South Asia (AISA) stated that Baloch’s death “is deeply shocking and must be immediately and effectively investigated.”
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