KARIMA BALOCH, a high profile Pakistani human rights activist, has been found dead in Toronto, Canada, under unclear circumstances.
The 37-year old, who was once featured in a BBC list of the world’s most inspirational women, disappeared near Lake Ontario on Sunday. On Monday, December 21st, the body of the activist was found near Toronto’s downtown waterfront.
Karima Baloch fled her native Pakistan in 2015, where he was a strong critic of the country’s human rights abuses and an advocate for the independence of Balochistan. The southwestern region has been trying to break free from Pakistan for over a decade, and has a history of insurgency and terrorism.
Baloch was also a staunch opponent of Pakistan’s infamous ISI intelligence agency, which has long been accused of abducting and torturing political enemies of the country’s Islamic government. This has led some of her allies to suspect foul play in her mysterious death.
“Her family can’t believe that it was an accident or something else as we know she was threatened”, her friend Lateef Jahar told AP, “her friends and family members were previously abducted and killed”.
Jahar also told the BBC that Baloch had received threats that she would receive a “Christmas present” that would “teach her a lesson”. Toronto police say that it has been difficult to establish from the autopsy whether her death was caused by a crime, accident, or suicide.
Human rights group Amnesty International implied that Baloch had been murdered, tweeting that her death “is deeply shocking and must be immediately and effectively investigated. The perpetrators must be brought to justice.”
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