Pakistani rights activist found slain in Toronto

Karima Baloch

Pakistani human rights activist Karima Baloch, 37, was found dead in Toronto, Canada, on Dec. 21. Baloch went missing the previous day. The Toronto Police stated that “officers have determined this to be a non-criminal death and no foul play is suspected.”┬áBut Baloch, from Pakistan’s restive┬áBalochistan region, fled her country┬áin 2015 because of threats on her life. As a campaigner with the Baloch Students’ Organization, she had harshly┬ácriticized the Pakistani military and state over ongoing rights abuses in the region. She┬ácontinued 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, told reporters that she had recently received anonymous threats.

Rights groups say that thousands of┬áBaloch activists 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 denies accusations┬áof brutally suppressing the region’s aspirations for autonomy.

Amnesty International South Asia┬ástated that Baloch’s death “is deeply shocking and must be immediately and effectively investigated.”

From Jurist, Dec. 23. Used with permission.

Photo via TimesNowNews, India