Human rights and Balochistan liberation activist Karima Baloch was found dead in Toronto, Canada in unexplained circumstances.
Baloch was a vocal critic of the Pakistani government and had actively worked to highlight human rights violations perpetrated upon people in Balochistan.
In 2016, BBC had included Baloch in their ‘BBC 100 Women 2016’ list for her work involving campaigns for independence for Balochistan from Pakistan.
She had used her social media profile to highlight abductions, torture, forced disappearances and other human rights violations that people in Balochistan were being subjected to by the Pakistan government and the army.
She had placed emphasis on fighting for the rights of Balochi women, and had highlighted how the legal system and religious groups in Pakistan would use state and social machinery to intentionally target women, particularly from vulnerable groups.
Baloch was living with refugee status in Canada because she had been targeted for her activism in Pakistan.
This isn’t an isolated occurrence. Earlier this year, Sajid Hussain, founder and chief editor of The Balochistan Post, was found dead near Uppsala, Sweden.
Hussain had fled Pakistan in 2017 and had sought political asylum in Sweden after he had been subjected to death threats, police raids, interrogation and other harassment for his work.
Balochistan is an arid desert and mountainous region in south-western Asia. It comprises the Pakistani province of Balochistan, the Iranian province of Sistan and Baluchestan, and the southern areas of Afghanistan.