Karima Baloch becomes the latest victim of disappearance and murder of Baloch freedom activists; Canada’s reputation as a safe country takes a hit

Anger, disbelief and concern is being expressed all over the world, including Balochistan, after the disappearance and subsequent assassination of Karima Baloch. A staunch proponent of Balochistan freedom and an outspoken critic of Human Rights in Pakistan, Karima was found dead in Toronto where she was living in exile. Baloch leaders and human rights activist are blaming Pakistani intelligence agencies for the murder.

As the assassination of Karima Baloch was confirmed by the Toronto’s police, netizens have been calling for an investigation into her murder and have demanded that the perpetrators to be brought to justice.

Baloch activists and supporters have blamed Pakistan’s ISI for Karima’s abduction and murder. Baloch leaders say that Karima was killed in the same way as Baloch refugee journalist, Sajid Hussain. Sajid went missing in Sweden in March this year and his body was later found in a river in Uppsala, Sweden. His relatives had claimed that he had been killed, but a police investigation failed to gather evidence. 

The ISI has targeted Baloch freedom activists and human rights critics in and outside Pakistan for last many decades. Karima was a outspoken critic of Human rights abuses of the Baloch people, forced disappearance and military intervention in Balochistan. Activists say that she was on the radar of ISI for a long time. With her murder, Canada’s reputation takes a hit as it is increasing seen as a hub for ISI to further its anti-Baloch and anti-India activities.

Born Freedom Fighter

Karima Baloch was the founder of the freedom movement among Baloch women. She became the first female head of the Baloch Students’ Organization in its 70-year history. She had sought political asylum in Canada due to the threat to her life in Balochistan. After which she continued to highlight the problems of Balochistan in the UN meetings in Canada and Switzerland.

A spokesperson for BNF said that Karima Baloch had been missing for a day. Her body was found by Toronto police in Canada today. The Baloch National Movement has declared 40 days of mourning over the tragic death of its leader and former chairperson of BSO Azad and National Leader Banuk Karima Baloch. All zones are directed to suspend other activities for 40 days.

The spokesperson said that Banuk Karima Baloch was not only the party leader and former chairperson of BSO Azad but also the first female chairperson in the history of Baloch Student Organization. She took command of the BSO at a time when Pakistani barbarism was on the rise. The organization’s vice chairman, chairman, information secretary and other cabinet members had gone missing at the hands of the Pakistani state. But the brave leader Karima of the Baloch nation in these difficult times not only led the organization with the best strategy but also rendered significant services to the entire Baloch national movement. Her role for the full participation of women in the Baloch national movement will always be remembered, he said.
The spokesperson said that Banuk Karima Baloch, due to her courage, bravery and political acumen, will always be alive and will remain as a symbol for the Baloch nation and other oppressed nations of the world. With her ability, commitment and bravery, she achieved a prominent position in the Baloch national movement and became known internationally. She was named one of the BBC’s 100 Most Influential Women by the leading British broadcaster BBC.

Critic of Human Rights in Pakistan

Demonstration by civilians including women and children protesting against the illegal enforced disappearance of their family members in Balochistan

Karima Baloch was a harsh critic of human rights in Pakistan and laid emphasis on fighting for the rights of Baloch women. She highlighted how the legal system and religious groups in Pakistan use state and government machinery to intentionally target women, particularly from vulnerable groups.

Her concerns and activism also reflected her timeline on Twitter, where she was the target of Pakistani accounts. On many occasions, Karima had exposed how the Pakistan state security personnel were working on a state agenda to silence Baloch demands for basic rights. “…they will never be arrested or prosecuted”, she had said.

After the kidnap and murder of pro-Balochistan activist and famous linguist Prof. Liaquat Sanni, Karima tweeted that Pakistan intelligence Agencies are not only war criminals but they are also a human trafficking mafia. “They abduct people not only for their views and activities but also kidnap for ransom but their victims never come back”, she tweeted.

On November 14th she tweeted “Thanks to the brutality of Pakistan’s army & its intelligence agencies, we can’t celebrate birthdays or any other happy vacation. We just have #MartyrsDay, #MissingPersons day.” On November 13, which is observed as Baloch Martyrs Day, she tweeted: “I pay tribute to all the Baloch martyrs who sacrificed their lives for our future. I will continue my struggle for a Balochistan they shed their blood for, so we could live with dignity and freedom on our own homeland.”

Worldwide Condemnation

BBC journalist Riaz Sohail said that Karima was the first female chairperson of Baloch Students Organization (BSO). She took over the responsibility of the organization during a difficult time when many central leaders of the organization were abducted, some went into hiding and some parted ways. He also wrote that when a anti-terrorism court in Pakistan commuted her sentence because she is a woman, Karima had said that the sentence should be given irrespective of her gender.

Dilmurad Baloch, information secretary of the Baloch National Movement, tweeted that the death of the former chairperson of BSO Azad and the magical leader of the Baloch was nothing short of a shock and a national loss. Balochistan National Party leader Sanaullah Baloch tweets his condolence message: “Karima Baloch’s sudden death is nothing short of a national tragedy. Baloch’s daughter has been murdered in Canada, the safest country in the world. All the facts of her disappearance and murder have to be brought to light. We share the grief of the family. May God bless them.”

Baloch Republican Party spokesman Sher Muhammad Bugti wrote: “The sudden death of Karima Baloch is traumatic. It is the duty of the Government of Canada to investigate this incident and to inform her family and the Baloch nation of all the facts.”

Pakistan Human Rights Activist Gulalai Ismail wrote: “Karima Baloch’s murder demands a transparent investigation. She was killed just months after the disappearance and discovery of the body of Baloch journalist Sajid Hussain in Sweden. Karima Baloch was an exiled activist who came to Canada because her life was in danger in Pakistan.”

Protests have been reported from Balochistan over the disappearance and murder of Karima Baloch. Activists on social media are demanding that the Canadian government bring the perpetrators to justice through the #JusticeForKarimaBaloch hashtag.

Karima’s Appeal to India’s PM Modi

Karima made headlines in India after she praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2016 on the day of Raksha Bandhan and appealed to him to look at the plight of the people living there in Balochistan.
She had wished PM Narendra Modi on ‘Raksha Bandhan’ and sought his help in addressing the plight of people living in Balochistan, in the year 2016. She had urged PM Modi to be the voice of their struggle.
In her message to PM Modi, Karima Baloch said “On this day I have come to you and would like to say that we consider you as our brother, and we expect that you become the voice of Baloch genocide, war crimes in Balochistan, human rights violation in international forums and become the voice of those sisters whose brothers are missing.”

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