Karima Baloch, an activist and former chairperson of Baloch Students Organisation – Azad, who was a staunch critic of the Pakistan Army and government atrocities in Balochistan, has been found dead under mysterious circumstances in Toronto Canada Tuesday.
The spokesperson of the Baloch National Movement said that the martyrdom of Karima Baloch, a BNM leader living in exile in Canada and former chairperson of Baloch Student Organisation (BSO), is a great loss to the Baloch nation and the national movement.
The Canadian refugee, who spent her life fighting for the rights of the people of Balochistan was named as one of the world’s 100 most “inspirational and influential” women in 2016 by the BBC. She is believed to be one of the most prominent women leaders from Balochistan who often spoke on the atrocities and militarization of Balochistan. The activist had received acclamation for her “campaigns for independence for Balochistan,” an area that had been under the British rule until 1947 and was later acceded to Pakistan as one of the country’s four provinces.
Karima Baloch had championed the cause of women in Balochistan and was raised issues pertaining to barbarities perpetrated by the Pakistani Army in the region.
She had recently accused the Justin Trudeau government in Canada of facilitating Pakistani army officials by giving them refuge.
Canada denied refuge to Karima Baloch claiming BSO’s involvement in “subversion” against the Pakistani govt
Lots have been written and said about Karima Baloch’s activism, but little has been spoken on how her voice against Pakistan’s oppression in Balochistan, had become a stumbling block for her when she approached the Canadian government seeking asylum in 2016. According to reports, though she was later allowed to take refugee, the Canadian authorities had initially rejected her asylum request, which she made after she escaped from Pakistan in 2016 with the help of a few friends and Baloch activists, fearing for her life due to threats from the Pakistan army and intelligence agencies.
The Canada Border Services Agency had in 2016 rejected her request because of the Baloch Students Organisation – Azad’s involvement in “subversion” against the Pakistani government. In their order, Canadian border officials had then said that Mehrab is inadmissible on security grounds for being a member of an organization that engages, has engaged or will engage in an “act of subversion against a democratic government” as “understood in Canada.
An official of Pakistani High Commission in Ottawa had strongly responded to Karima Baloch’s asylum plea and contested that her claims that her life was in danger in Pakistan were untrue.
For the uninitiated, Pakistan has declared Baloch Students Organisation, which Karima Baloch was an active member of then, a terrorist organisation. Pakistan has accused BSO of working at the behest of the Indian intelligence RAW. A claim which Karima Baloch had vociferously refuted.
‘Fake accusations’ of BSO being a RAW agent by Pakistan a cover-up: Baloch activist
Karima had stated that BSO-Azad has no contacts with Indian intelligence RAW or any other intelligence agency of any country. Speaking to DNA, Karima had in 2016 claimed that the ‘fake accusations’ of a RAW agent by Pakistan is to cover up on its atrocities in Balochistan. She had stated that there is no Indian presence or involvement in Balochistan.
“The allegation of Indian involvement in Balochistan is an excuse to label ingrown Balochistan freedom movement as a proxy war to cover up the war crimes Pakistani state has committed in Balochistan. Pakistan wants to show the world that its ruthless policy is in self-defence against foreign aggression. But, the world is not blind, deaf and dumb. It is now an open secret that almost 7 decades old Baloch movement is an indigenous movement, not a proxy war imposed by an outsider. In fact, we are in self-defence against Pakistani aggression because it occupied our land illegally, and without our consent”, the Baloch activist had said.
After the Baloch activist was found dead today under mysterious conditions, many have accused Pakistan ISI of the killing.