Who Was Karima Baloch, Prominent Human Rights Activist Found Dead In Canada: 10 Things To Know

Karima Baloch Friends

Prominent Baloch activist and advocate of gender equality, Karima Baloch, has been found dead in Canada, as reported on Tuesday. She was renowned for being vocal about the Pakistan Army’s atrocities in Balochistan and escaping to Canada in 2016. Her body was found drowned near Toronto’s lakeshore after she went missing earlier this week. Baloch’s body has been identified by her family and investigations into her death are underway.

Here are 10 things to know about Karima Baloch and her death: 

1. Karima Baloch, noted for being one of Balochistan’s pioneering activists, was found dead at Harbourfront, near a lakeshore in Toronto, Canada. According to reports, the 35-year-old first went missing on Sunday around 3 p.m. and was found by the Canadian police off an island just near Toronto’s lakeshore.

2. Baloch had been vocal about the Pakistan Army and the government’s atrocities in Balochistan and was known for being at the forefront of Balochistan’s pursuit of independence from Pakistan. She made headlines in 2016 after escaping Pakistan to take refuge in Canada, following a threat to her life.

3. Baloch’s body has been identified by her husband Hammal Haider and brother. According to India Today, Canadian securities will reportedly investigate Pakistan’s possible involvement in Baloch’s death.

4. Baloch’s last tweet came on 11 December, in which she talked about Shabeer Baloch, another activist, who was allegedly abducted by the Pakistani Army on 4 October 2016, from Gowarkop in Balochistan.

5. Following Baloch’s death, the Baloch National Movement has announced a 40-day period of mourning. “With the death of Banuk Karima, we have lost a visionary leader and a national symbol. Compensation for this great loss is impossible for centuries,” said the spokesperson of the Baloch National Movement.

6. Baloch was also the former student leader and first female chairperson of a Baloch Students Organisation called ‘Azad’. The Pakistani government had banned the organisation in 2013, terming it a terrorist outfit.

7. At the United Nations’ 39th Session of the Human Rights Council in 2018, Baloch had famously raised the issue of gender inequality in Pakistan. She was quoted saying, “If a woman is killed by her brother in the name of honour, the Islamic law allows him to settle the case with the father or the rest of the family. Also, as a testimony of two women is equal to one man, rape cases are less likely to be decided in favour of the victims… Religious groups have launched an assault against women’s freedom throughout Pakistan, especially in Balochistan.”

8. In 2016, she was named among BBC’s list of the world’s most “inspirational and influential” women. Sharing the news on social media, Baloch had written, “I share this with countless inspirational women in #Balochistan freedom struggle. Never give up.”

9. The same year, Baloch had relayed a message to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Rakshabandhan, appealing for his help to Baloch activists and women. In a video message, she had asked him to be a “brother” to the women of Balochistan, asking him to be their “voice” against the alleged human rights atrocities by the Pakistan government.

10. BBC reports that Baloch’s death is not the first as regards Baloch activists. Sajid Hussain, founder of publication The Balochistan Post was found dead earlier this year in Sweden. The journalist had fled Pakistan in 2012 following death threats and was given political asylum.