New Delhi | Jagran News Desk:Karima Baloch, who had been a harsh critic of Pakistan Army and had raised voice against the government atrocities in Balochistan, has been found dead at Harbourfront in Canada's Toronto. 

The 35-year-old former student leader, who fled Pakistan in 2016, reportedly went missing from Toronto on Sunday. According to media reports, police found her body drowned off on an island near Toronto’s lakeshore. Her husband Hammal Haider and brother have identified her body, which is with the police.

Reports suggest Pakistan's intelligence agency ISI might be responsible for the attack.

Karima was a Canadian refugee and named as one of the world's 100 most "inspirational and influential" women in 2016 by the BBC. 

While her vocal criticism of Pakistan earned her international acclaim, Indians also became privy to Karima after she reached out to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Rakhsha Bandhan and appealed to him to help Balochistan nationalists with their cause.

Karima Baloch, a famous personality in Balochistan, is believed to be the pioneer of women activism there. She has also raised the issue of Balochistan in the United Nations sessions in Switzerland.

In an interview in May 2019, she had accused Pakistan of taking away the resources and eliminating the people of Balochistan, the province with immense geo-strategic importance and huge untapped natural resource reserves.

Balochistan Post said that the sudden death of the activist has raised serious concern.

This is not the first case that Pakistani dissident has been found dead. In May, Baloch journalist Sajid Hussain was found dead in Sweden. He had been missing from the city of Uppsala since March 2.

The dissidents and critics of the Pakistan authorities, who are living in exile are under constant fear as the criticism of the military in Pakistan has always been frowned upon. People who criticise the military and its policies are harassed by agencies.

Balochistan is a restive province where the Pakistani military is accused of indulging in gross human rights violations including abducting and killing of innocents.

Resource-rich Balochistan has been gripped by an insurgency for more than 15 years. The family members and relatives of Baloch political leaders and workers had always faced state brutalities and barbarism in Balochistan.

There have been several instances where Pakistani security forces conduct operations on individual households, physically assault innocent women and children, and rely on extrajudicial death squads to subjugate Baloch civilians.

Thousands of Baloch political activists in order to avoid persecution escaped from Balochistan and are compelled to seek asylum in European counties; journalists and human rights activists are among these asylum seekers.

Posted By: Abhinav Gupta