The suspicious death raises questions about the ISI's footprint in Canada

Even as Karima Baloch’s death in a suspicious condition in Toronto, has sparked anger across the world, the Canadian police have said they are not treating the death of the prominent human rights activist, as a criminal matter.

“It is currently being investigated as a non-criminal death,” the Toronto police was quoted as saying by the National Post, a Canadian English-language newspaper

“There are not believed to be any suspicious circumstances,” the police added.

Mehrab, widely known as Karima Baloch, was reportedly missing from Sunday.

While police believe it to be a “non-criminal” case, her death has sparked anger among fellow activists and netizens on social media. Some are blaming Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau while others doubt the involvement of Pakistan in the matter.

Mehrab was a human rights activist, 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. A few years ago, she had taken refuge in Canada.

Balochistan, in Pakistan's southwest, is the largest and most resource-rich province in Pakistan. For more than 60 years, Balochs have fought for their independence. However, their movement has caused gross human rights abuses.

‘The land of the Baloch’ or the province of Balochistan was divided into four princely states, which were forcefully acceded to Pakistan. Despite being rich in natural resources, it is the most backward region in Pakistan. Pakistan security forces are accused of extrajudicial abductions, killings and torture of thousands of men, women, and children in Balochistan.

In 2019, Mehrab 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.

Similar was the story of the founder and chief editor of The Balochistan Post Sajid Hussain. He was found dead in March as he had consistently highlighted human rights violations that Baloch people were being subjected to.

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 criticize the military and its policies are harassed by agencies.

While the reason for the death is still unknown, the fact that Mehrab’s death is not the first suspicious death of an exile fighting for human rights violation in Balochistan has made people raise concerns over growing footprints of Pakistan’s deep state in Canada.

Read the full report in National Post