By Sumit Kumar Singh
New Delhi, Dec 23 : An alleged killing of human rights activist Karima Baloch in Canada’s Toronto has stirred up debates across the globe with activists demanding a fair investigation.
Further a joint statement by dissident Pakistani groups in Canada has called the death of Karima as a murder and demanded a probe into the incident.
Karima Baloch, an exiled Balochistan activist living in Toronto, went missing on December 20, before she was found dead. People of Balochistan have been fighting for thier Independence from illegal occupation by Pakistan.
She took refuge in Canada in 2016 fleeing the persecution by Pakistani state authorities.
The joint statement over Karima’s death speaks of the possibility of foul play by Pakistan authorities.
“Though the Toronto Police has said that the death of Karima Baloch is investigated as a non-criminal death and there are not believed to be any suspicious circumstances, we believe that given the threats to her life by Pakistani authorities because of her political activism, a much thorough investigation into the murder of Karima Baloch is needed,” said a joint statement.
The joint statement was issued by Baloch National Movement, Balochistan National Party-Canada, World Sindhi Congress-Canada, Pashtun Council Canada and PTM Committee Canada We, Baloch National Movement, Balochistan National Party-Canada, World Sindhi Congress-Canada, Pashtun Council Canada and PTM Committee Canada.
The Canadian Civil Society too condemned the murder and demanded further thorough investigation.
Karima identified herself as a human rights activist and had served as the Chairperson of Baloch Students Organisation Azad.
While in Pakistan, she was a fierce voice against the militarization of Balochistan, enforced disappearances and extrajudicial murders of Baloch people.
“The murder of Karima Baloch has reminded us the cold-blooded murder of Sajid Husain, a Baloch journalist forced into exile in Sweden after covering violence, crime and a simmering insurgency in Pakistan. He was found dead on April 23, 2019 in north of Stockholm, after remaining missing for more than a month,” the statement said.
Karima figured among the the world’s 100 most “inspirational and influential” women in 2016 by the BBC.
During her refuge in Canada, Karima Baloch continued to raise her voice against the human rights abuses in Balochistan by the Pakistani State authorities.
“We condemn the murder of Karima Baloch and demand thorough and transparent investigation in her murder. The culprits should be exposed and brought to justice as per the laws of Canada,” the statement by the various groups said and called Baloch are one of the most persecuted groups in Pakistan.
Thousands of people have disappeared without trace in Balochistan since 2007.
Pakistan military-led operation was launched in early 2005 aimed at wiping out the uprising by ethnic Baloch groups, who are fighting for a greater share of the province’s resources.
The dissidents and critics of the Pakistan authorities, who are living in exile are under constant fear with the increasing threats and attacks on them during the exile. “We believe that the international community has a responsibility towards the protection of the exiled activists,” the statement said.
“While we take immense pride in Canada’s long record of taking courageous stance against all kinds of violations against Human Rights anywhere in the World and Canada’s image as one of the safest places for refugees and asylum seekers, any lack of a concrete action to this end might jeopardize the global image/reputation Canada has.
“Therefore, we urge the government of Canada to undertake immediate and thorough investigation, bring perpetrators to justice, and take just diplomatic and political course of action in cases any foreign country or group were found to be involved behind this brutal murder of this human rights activist.”
Amid fight for their Independence, hundreds of Baloch political activists in order to avoid persecution escaped from Balochistan and are compelled to seek asylum in other countries.
(Sumit Kumar Singh can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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