Canada’s support to Khalistani sympathiser Hardeep Singh Nijjar and the subsequent row with India over his killing has irked not only the latter but also the Baloch Human Rights Council of Canada, which questioned the lack of action in the kidnapping and alleged murder of exiled Baloch human rights activist Karima Baloch in 2020.
Accusing Justin Trudeau of playing politics and ignoring the death of Baloch, the BHRC wrote a letter to the Canadian PM Justin Trudeau noting that there have been perceived inconsistencies in his government response to the mysterious death of Balochistan Rights Activists and protected individual Karima Baloch In December 2020, in Toronto.
Claiming the stark contrast with the Canadian government on the pro-Khalistani leader, the letter said that Trudeau’s conspicuous silence regarding the high-profile unexplained death of Karima Baloch stands in stark contrast to his impassioned speech in the House of Commons and extensive media coverage concerning the shooting and death of Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Canada.
Who was Karima Baloch?
A Balochistan Rights Activist, Karima Baloch, was fighting for the rights of the people of the region with the government of Pakistan. She was the first chair of the Baloch Students Organisations (BSO-Azad), which is a political student body and is highly known for raising the cause of forced disappearance among Baloch Activists.
She was a vocal critic of the Pakistan military and Inter-Service-Intelligence (ISI) and was granted asylum in Canada after being slapped with terrorism charges in Pakistan. In the year 2020, after going missing, Baloch was found dead in a river in Sweden, becoming the second Baloch activist to die in exile that year.
As cops ruled out foul play, Karima’s husband Hammal Haider, a Pakistani activist living in exile, had said, “I do not believe that it an act of suicide. She was a strong lady and left home in a good mood. He added, “We can’t rule out foul play as she has been under threats. She left Pakistan as her home was raided more than twice. Her uncle was killed, and she was threatened to leave activism and political activities, but she did not and fled to Canada.
Unlike Nijjar’s case, where Trudeau did not shy away from the escalating diplomatic tensions, Baloch’s death was brushed under the carpet, and the Canadian Police ruled the death as non-criminal despite allegations of foul play. According to the statement of the police, “the circumstances have been investigated, and officers have determined the death as non-criminal death and no foul play is suspected.
The Nijjar Row
Tensions flared between India and Canada after the remarks of Justin Trudeau’s explosive allegations of potential involvement of Indian agents in the killing of Nijjar on his country and soil on June 18, 2023, outside a gurudwara in Surrey, British Columbia. India has designated Nijjar as a terrorist in the year 2020.
India angrily rejected the allegations as “absurd” and “motivated” and expelled the senior Canadian diplomat in a tit-for-tat move to Ottawa’s expulsion of an Indian diplomat over the case and said, “Of course, there are credible allegations that we need to take extremely seriously as Canadians and indeed as a world,” Trudeau asserted when asked if the evidence suggested by him was extensive in the matter.
Trudeau also said that his government was not looking to provoke and cause problems. “There is no question that India is a country of rising importance and a country that we need to work with not just in the region but in the world. We are not looking for provoking problems. But we are unequivocal about the importance of the rule of law about the importance of protecting Canadians.
That is why we call upon the Indian government to work with us to establish processes to discover and uncover the truth of the matter and to allow justice and accountability to be served,” he added.