New Delhi: Human rights activist and former chairperson of Baloch Students Organisation – Azad, Karima Baloch was reportedly found dead in Toronto, Canada Sunday.
According to a report in The Balochistan Post Monday, 35-year-old Karima, who was a vocal critic of the Pakistan government, went missing Sunday and was last seen at approximately 3 pm in the Bay Street and Queens Quay West area. The Toronto Police carried out a search along with public assistance before Baloch’s family confirmed that the body was found.
The activist, who had taken refuge in Canada, was critical of the atrocities meted out to the people of Balochistan in Pakistan. She had also raised the issue of gender inequality in Pakistan at the United Nations during the 39th Session of the Human Rights Council in 2018.
“If a woman is killed by her brother in the name of honour, the Islamic law allows him to settle the case with the father or the rest of the family. In most of the cases, the family forgives the murderer who goes scot-free. Also, as a testimony of two women is equal to one man, rape cases are less likely to be decided in favour of the victims,” said Karima in her speech.
She added: “Apart from these basic flaws in the legal system, religious groups have launched an assault against the women’s freedom throughout Pakistan, especially in Balochistan.”
Part of BBC’s 100 most influential women in 2016
In 2016, she was named as one of the world’s 100 most “inspirational and influential” women by the BBC, which she said she would share “with countless inspirational women in Balochistan freedom struggle (sic)”.
— Karima Baloch (@KarimaBaloch) November 21, 2016
Baloch last tweeted on 11 December about Shabeer Baloch, activist and Baloch Students Organisation – Azad information secretary who was allegedly abducted by the Pakistani Army on 4 October 2016, from Gowarkop in Balochistan.
— Karima Baloch (@KarimaBaloch) December 10, 2020
This is not the first time an activist from Balochistan has died under mysterious circumstances. In May this year, Baloch journalist Sajid Hussain was found dead in Sweden after going missing from the city of Uppsala earlier in March.
The Balochistan province, located in southwestern Pakistan, is one of the longest-running insurgencies in the world with several Baloch groups engaged in an armed conflict with the Pakistani Army due to Punjabi dominance and economic alienation, among other issues.