Pakistani rights activist found dead in Toronto

Karima Baloch was reported missing on Sunday

The body of Pakistani human rights activist Karima Baloch has been found in Toronto, Canada, where she lived a deported life for five years.

Ms. Baloch, 37, a campaigner from the comfort zone of Balochistan in West Pakistan, was an outspoken critic of the Pakistani military and the state.

Toronto police on Sunday issued an appeal after her disappearance and later confirmed that her body was found.

Police said that “no suspicious circumstances were believed”.

In 2016, Ms Baloch was named on the BBC’s annual list of 100 inspirational and influential women to serve as a campaigner. He left Pakistan in 2015 after he was accused of terrorism.

She continued her campaign in exile on social media and in person for the rights of people in Balochistan. And according to a close friend and fellow activist, who also lives in Toronto, the threats followed them.

He told the BBC that Ms Baloch had recently received anonymous threats that someone would give her a “Christmas present” and “teach them a lesson”.

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

Mahaganj Baloch said, “She did not go abroad because she wanted to, but because … open activism in Pakistan had become impossible.”

The province of Balochistan has been hosting a separatist insurgency for a long time. Ms. Baloch was a noted activist in the region; She was the first woman head of a banned activist group – Baloch Students Organization (BSO).

His first public appearance as an activist took place in 2005 in the Turbat area of ​​Balochistan, where he participated in a protest against the missing people carrying a photograph of one of his missing relatives.

Activists in Balochistan say thousands of campaigners have gone missing in recent years. The Pakistani military denied allegations that it was brutally suppressing the region’s aspirations for autonomy.

Many members of Ms. Baloch’s extended family had been involved with the Baloch resistance movement for years, and her two uncles – her mother’s one brother and her father’s brother – had gone missing. Their bodies were later found.

He joined the BSO in 2006, serving in several different positions over the following years. The group was officially banned by the government in 2013, but continued to exist and in 2015, Ms. Baloch became president.

Only a few months later, she went into exile following terrorism charges against her. In Toronto, she married a fellow activist, Hamal Baloch, and was active both on social media and in human rights activities in Canada and Europe.

Reacting to the news of Ms. Baloch’s death, the Balochistan National Movement (BNM) announced a 40-day mourning.

Earlier this year, Sajid Hussain Baloch, another former Baloch journalist living an exiled life, went missing and was later found dead. Mr. Baloch, who was related to Ms. Baloch, was living in Sweden. Swedish police dismissed any “visible wrongdoing” and ruled the drowning the cause of death.

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