Friends and fellow activists of Banuk Karima Baloch have alleged that former chairperson of Baloch Student Organisation-Azad (BSO-Azad), who was found dead in Canada on Tuesday had been receiving death threats. The 37-year-old, a vocal critic against the atrocities of Pakistan Army and government in Balochistan, had arrived in Canada in 2016 and had conducted extensive campaigns against disappearances and human rights violations in the troubled Balochistan province.
Lateef Johar Baloch, a friend and another activist who lives in Toronto revealed that Karima had received anonymous threat messages that said, “We know where you live”, the Toronto Sun reported. “We can’t believe or accept this was an accident,” said Lateef Johar. “Her husband showed me the messages and it said, ‘We will send a Christmas gift to Karima she will never forget. Karima’s friends and fellow activists have spoken up after Toronto Police in their initial investigation ruled out any foul play.
“The circumstances have been investigated and officers have determined this to be a non-criminal death and no foul play is suspected,” the police said. Besides Lateef, another activist Hakeem Baloch has demanded a thorough investigation into the mysterious death of Karima and said the latter had been getting life threats and abusive messages on her social media accounts.
Hakeem, who is the President of Baloch National Movement UK Zone as well as her close friend, said Karima was a brave woman who would not commit suicide. “She received many threat calls on her social media accounts, abusive messages and comments that’s something which shows the mentality of the enemy of the Baloch nation,” said Hakeem.”Statements from her family and close friends have revealed that they don’t believe, and the Baloch nation doesn’t believe that she becomes a victim of an accident or it is an act of suicide because she was a brave lady, she was a brave heart lady, she was the hope for hundreds and thousands of Baloch. She was leading millions of Baloch. She was a symbolic character for Baloch women in the history of Baloch politics and with all those commitments, with all those greatness and along with them the sacrifices she made, the sacrifices her family made, no one can believe that this was an act of suicide,” Hakeem Baloch told ANI.
Karima was among many young and educated Baloch political activists who have migrated to Europe, Canada, and the United States. They even face life threats in the West as Islamabad regards them as “traitors” for raising the human rights issues in Balochistan. Hakeem Baloch said, “One cannot ignore the videos which are circulating on social media where the ex-dictator and former President of Pakistan General (Pervez) Musharraf clearly states that we should kill our enemies abroad just like the other countries are doing. That’s something happening now”.
“It has happened with Sajid Hussain (Baloch journalist killed in Sweden), this is what we believe that Sajid’s case was not a normal case and the case of Karima Baloch is also not a normal case of suicide or an accident. Both of these cases have a lot of information to be shared with the people of Balochistan and their families,” said the Baloch leader. In 2016, Banuk Karima Baloch was named on BBC’s list of inspirational women. She was living in Canada since 2016 as she left Pakistan after terrorism charges were levelled against her.
“Since the Baloch have become victims of extrajudicial abduction and killings in Western countries like Sweden and Canada that raises serious concerns. This is the high time that the United Nations, European Union, US, State Department, United Kingdom and all the international bodies, human rights organizations, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the big media houses – BBC, CNN or any media houses from India or any other part of the world should take these issues seriously,” said Hakeem. He further said that Karima Baloch was a voice for all those missing people and all of those martyrs and all of those political activists and the freedom-loving Balochs those who believe that one day Balochistan will be a free nation.