Police in Canada have declared the death of a dissident Pakistani human rights activist a “non-criminal” incident.
Thirty-seven-year-old Karima Mehrab, also known as Karima Baloch from Pakistan’s troubled Baluchistan province, was found dead Monday, a day after she went missing in Toronto’s downtown area.
“The circumstances have been investigated and officers have determined this to be a non-criminal death and no foul play is suspected. We have updated the family,” a Toronto Police statement said.
The Toronto Police Service is aware of heightened community and media interest surrounding a missing person investigation.— Toronto Police (@TorontoPolice) December 23, 2020
Earlier today, we confirmed a 37-year-old woman was sadly located deceased on Monday, December 21, 2020.
Baloch had been living in Canada since fleeing Baluchistan in 2015, where she campaigned for the province’s separation from Pakistan and was reportedly charged with terrorism.
Her death sparked speculation of the involvement of Pakistani intelligence operatives, charges officials in Islamabad rejected as “ridiculous” and an attempt to malign Pakistan.
Baloch’s husband, Hammal Haider, told media she went on a walk on Toronto’s Center Island and never returned.
“I can’t believe that it’s an act of suicide,” he told the Guardian newspaper. “She was a strong lady and she left home in a good mood. We can’t rule out foul play as she has been under threats. She left Pakistan as her home was raided more than twice,” Haider said.
Baluchistan has long been home to insurgent separatist movements and often experiences deadly attacks on Pakistani security forces blamed on the separatists.
The Pakistani military said on Tuesday an “intelligence-based operation” against a suspected militant hideout in the province’s Awaran region triggered a shootout with “terrorists,” killing 10 of them. It added that the slain men were behind a recent deadly attack on a security convoy in the area.
Pakistan alleges Baluch separatists are being supported and funded by rival India, charges New Delhi denies.