The body of Pakistani human rights activist Karima Baloch was found in Toronto, Canada earlier this week.
Baloch, 37, who was living in exile in Toronto was reported missing on Sunday. Police say there were “not believed to be any suspicious circumstances” in her death as of yet.
Lateef Johar Baloch, a close friend and fellow activist told BBC that Baloch recently received anonymous threats from someone wanting to send her a “Christmas gift” and “teach her a lesson.”
Baloch campaigned for the rights of people in the Balochistan region of western Pakistan where she was a well-known activist. The region is known for its separatist insurgency fighting for autonomy and Baloch was a harsh critic of the Pakistani government. She was branded a terrorist and fled to Canada to continue her campaign in exile.
Genocide of Baloch Nation Continues,#KarimaBaloch X-Chairperson of @BSO_Azad is found death after one day of her abduction in Toronto Canada .She was threatened to death for her political activism.#StateKilledKarimaBaloch pic.twitter.com/T4FjBAgUg4
— MehrZaad Baloch (@MehrZaadBSO) December 21, 2020
Baloch was the first female leader of the Baloch Students’ Organization, a now-banned activist group. In exile, she married fellow activist Hamal Baloch.
Baloch was named one of the 100 most inspirational and influential women of 2016 for human rights work by the BBC.
The Balochistan National Movement (BNM) announced a 40-day mourning period following the news of her death.
In recent years, Balochistan activists accused the Pakistani military of brutal suppression of autonomy and claim that many campaigners have gone missing. The Pakistani military denies the accusations.
In April, fellow Balochistan activist and journalist Sajid Hussain Baloch was reported missing and later found dead. Sajid Hussain Baloch, who was related to Karima Baloch, was living in exile in Sweden. His cause of death was ruled to be drowning, though police ruled out any “visible wrongdoing.”
Feature Image via BSO ASAD