Karima Baloch
Karima Baloch
Screengrab from video posted by ANI on YouTube

A prominent Baloch activist, Karima Baloch, who had once appealed to her 'brother' Narendra Modi to express solidarity against human rights abuses in Balochistan, was found dead on Tuesday under mysterious circumstances in Canada.

In the wake of her mysterious death, Baloch activists have alleged foul play and raised the need for protection of activists as they are on the target of Pakistan's secret agencies.

A little-known fact about Karima Baloch highlights the struggle she put up against the Pakistan Army during her lifetime, and the extent she went to gather solidarity for the plight of her people.

Back in 2016, days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi had raised the Balochistan issue during his August 15 Independence Day speech at the Red Fort, Karima had appealed to him to raise the voice of Baloch people on international forums.

In a video message recorded on the ocassion of Raksha Bandhan that year, Karima had called Prime Minister Narendra Modi her "brother" and urged him to speak about "the genocide and war crimes in Baloch on international forums and become the voice of the sisters of Baloch."

Four-year-old reports cite the video message that Karima had recorded for her "brother" Narendra Modi, which goes as follows — "Countless brothers are missing. Sisters in Balochistan are still waiting for their brothers to return. There is a possibility that they will never return and their sisters will always lay in wait. We appeal to you that as our brother, you speak about the genocide and war crimes in Baloch on international forums and become the voice of the sisters of Baloch."

Karima, who was then the Chairperson of the Baloch Students Organisation, had said that the Baloch people will fight the struggle on their own, but insisted that Narendra Modi becomes "the voice" of the struggle for his "sisters".

The video has since re-surfaced after the news of her death became public. It was posted on the official channel of the Asian News International (ANI) news agency. You can watch it here:

Karima was a refugee in Canada, after having escaped the persecution by the Pakistani Army in Balochistan. Named as one of the world's 100 most inspirational and influential women in 2016 by the BBC, Karima was known as one of the strongest voice of Baloch people at home and abroad.

As per the Balochistan Post, Karima went missing on Sunday afternoon. On Monday, her family said that they had found her dead body.

In a similar pattern, another Pakistani dissident, Baloch journalist Sajid Hussain was found dead in Sweden.

He was missing too before his body was found.

Balochistan is a resource-rich and conflict-torn province of Pakistan where Pakistan Army is accused of committing grave and wide spread human rights violations. The military repression has led to an insurgency and a movement for freedom from Pakistan.

Karima was one among the thousands of Baloch human rights activists who have sought political asylum in Canada.

On Tuesday, hundreds of Baloch activists on social media played video clips of Karima's speech in Canada where she had raised an alarm about the Pakistani oppressors of Baloch people being settled in Canada accommodated by the Justin Trudeau government.

Many demanded investigation into her mysterious death in Toronto.

(With inputs from agencies)

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Free Press Journal