Mysterious death of Karima Baloch in Canada, police say no foul play, friend says was threatened

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TORONTO: Baloch political activist Karima Baloch has been found dead in Toronto, Canada, authorities confirmed on Tuesday. She was living in exile in Canada for about five years, had gone missing on Sunday.

Toronto Police on Monday said Baloch was last seen in the Bay Street and Queens Quay West area on Sunday. Queens Quay is a prominent street in the Harbourfront neighbourhood of Toronto.

Police reported several hours later that Baloch had been “located”.

Karima Baloch

Unverified reports, mostly in the Indian media quoting unnamed sources, had said that Baloch had been killed.

But a spokesperson for the Toronto Police told Dawn.com that authorities were investigating the death as “non-criminal”.

“On Monday, December 21, 2020, a 37-year-old woman was located deceased. It is currently being investigated as a non-criminal death and there are not believed to be any suspicious circumstances,” Caroline de Kloet, Toronto Police’s media relations officer, said in an email response.

Baloch was critical of the Pakistani establishment and had been living in Canada since 2016, where she had been granted asylum. A close friend of hers told the BBC she was receiving threats while in Canada.

According to her Twitter profile, Baloch was the former chairperson of the Baloch Students Organisation – Azad and the Baloch National Front (BNF) Balochistan. She was a vocal campaigner for Baloch rights and missing persons.

In 2016, she was named in the BBC’s annual list of 100 inspirational and influential women for her work as a campaigner.