Several Canadian civil society groups with roots in Pakistan have sought a “thorough investigation” into what they have described as the “murder” of 37-year-old Karima Baloch, whose corpse was found by Toronto police this week after she had gone missing.
Toronto police have already said it was a “non-criminal death”. In a tweet, they reiterated that “no foul play is suspected” and that they have “updated the family” in this regard.
However, in an open letter, a group of organisations has urged the Canadian government “to undertake immediate and thorough investigation, bring the perpetrators to justice, and take just, diplomatic and political course of action in case any foreign country or group were found to be involved in the brutal murder of this human rights activist”.
Canada’s permanent representative to the UN, Bob Rae, has expressed grief over Karima’s sudden demise, tweeting, “I had the honour and pleasure of meeting Karima Baloch to discuss the human rights situation affecting many of her friends and family. I am deeply saddened to learn of her death, and express my deepest condolences to her family and her community.”
No evidence has yet emerged or been offered by investigators on whether indeed she was murdered.
However, the statement asserted “that given the threats to her life by Pakistani authorities because of her political activism, a much thorough investigation” into the incident was warranted.
The organisations issuing the statement include Baloch National Movement, Balochistan National Party – Canada, World Sindhi Congress – Canada, Pashtun Council Canada, and PTM Committee Canada. They represent dissident groups agitating against Islamabad.
With regard to their demand for a thorough investigation, the signatories also said that “any lack of concrete action to this end might jeopardise the global image that Canada has”.
They added that this episode “reminded” them of the death 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.