The Baloch Human Rights Council (BHRC) has expressed grave concern about the death of well-known political leader Karima Baloch in Toronto. Considering Karima Baloch’s political profile and her death in mysterious circumstances, we demand a thorough investigation into the matter.
Karima Baloch was a prominent political and human rights figure who challenged the criminal policies of the state establishment of Pakistan in Balochistan. She led the Baloch Students Organization – Azad (BSO-Azad), most vocal of the students’ organizations that campaigned for the right to self-determination of the people of Balochistan. BSO-Azad was banned by the state authorities in 2013. Many of its members and leaders were extra-judicially murdered and forcibly disappeared. Considering the threat to her life, Karima Baloch fled Pakistan and sought refuge in Canada in 2015.
In fact, thousands of Baloch socio-political activists have been compelled to flee Pakistan for their lives and seek refuge in different countries of the world where they continue to raise awareness about the human rights and humanitarian challenges facing the Baloch people in Pakistan. Karima was one of those strong voices in the western world.
Karima was found dead in Toronto on Monday 22 December, after having been missing for a day. The Police determined the case as a non-criminal death, however, there is an increasing demand from the Baloch human rights and political organizations demanding that the case be investigated as a murder.
We also take this opportunity to extend our sympathies to her family. According to Karima Baloch’s family and friends, she had recently received threats from unknown individuals because of her political and human rights activities. We share her family’s concerns surrounding Karima’s case and, therefore, urge the Toronto Police to consider and evaluate all the relevant factors and information to conclude.