New Delhi (NVI): Prominent woman Baloch leader Karima Baloch, who went missing and was found dead in mysterious circumstances in Canada two days back, had made a public appeal to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2016 for help for Balochistan’s struggle for freedom from Pakistan.
“Shri Modi ji, on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan, a sister from Balochistan wants to say something to you, considering you as a brother,” she had said in a video message addressed to the Indian prime minister.
“My name is Karima Baloch and I am Chairperson of Baloch Student Organisation… In Balochistan, thousands of brothers are missing, or killed by the Pakistan Army. Thousands of sisters in Balochistan are still waiting for the return of their brothers. They may never return and the wait of their sisters may never end.
“We are approaching you with certain expectations. Sisters of Balochistan treat you as a brother and request you to become our voice at international forum against Baloch genocide, atrocities and human rights violations. We will fight our war on our own. You just be our voice of that war,” Karima added in that video.
The 37-year-old leader, who was named by the BBC as one of the world’s 100 most “inspirational and influential” women in 2016, went missing on December 20. Reportedly, she was last seen at approximately 3 p.m on that day in Queens Quay West area of Toronto and her body was found the next day.
Karima had taken refuge in Canada to escape the wrath of Pakistani authorities, especially the Army and its notorious intelligence agency ISI.
Her death in mysterious circumstances has led to suspicions that she had been assassinated by ISI to silence her as she was in the forefront of exposing Pakistan at global forum by highlighting the atrocities the Pakistani authorities are committing on Baloch people.
She had been particularly highlighting the malaise of ‘enforced disappearances’ in Balochistan carried out the Pakistani intelligence agencies. According to international human rights bodies and Baloch activists, thousands of Baloch people are abducted by the Pakistani security and intelligence agencies and most of them never return. A few return as dead bodies, that too in mutilated conditions.
Many Baloch people, on social media, have been vocally blaming the ‘Pakistani state’ for assassinating her.
Baloch people are struggling for freedom from Pakistan since the region was forcibly occupied by Pakistan in 1948.
Karima’s case has striking similarities with an incident in Sweden in March this year when Baloch journalist Sajid Hussain went missing from Sweden and his body was found from a river days later.
His family, friends and acquaintances say he was murdered and ISI hand was suspected.
Reporters without Borders (RSF), a Paris-based journalists’ organisation, has alleged that Hussain’s mysterious disappearance and subsequent death could have been organized by the Pakistani intelligence agencies – ISI and MI – due to his work as a journalist.
Amnesty International has said, “The death of activist #KarimaBaloch in Toronto, Canada is deeply shocking and must be immediately and effectively investigated. The perpetrators must be brought to justice without recourse to the death penalty.”