Toronto, amidst the rapidly escalating diplomatic tensions between India and Canada, triggered by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's allegations of the Indian government's involvement in the assassination of Khalistani militant Hardeep Singh Nijjar, the Baloch Human Rights Council of Canada (BHRC) has voiced its concerns about the perceived inaction surrounding the abduction and alleged murder of exiled Baloch human rights activist Karima Baloch.
Karima Baloch was discovered dead in Toronto, Canada, in 2020, having lived in exile for five years after facing terrorism charges in her native Pakistan. Originating from Balochistan in western Pakistan, Baloch had been a fervent critic of the Pakistani military and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
Accusations Against Trudeau
Accusing Trudeau of engaging in political maneuvering and neglecting Baloch's tragic fate, the BHRC penned a letter addressed to the Canadian Prime Minister, underlining the "apparent inconsistencies" in his government's response to the "mysterious demise of Balochistan rights activist and protected individual, Karima Baloch, in December 2020, in Toronto."
The BHRC emphasized a glaring contrast between the Canadian government's actions regarding the pro-Khalistan leader and Trudeau's conspicuous silence concerning the high-profile, unexplained death of Karima Baloch. This contrast was particularly noticeable in comparison to his impassioned speeches in the House of Commons and extensive media coverage regarding the shooting death of Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Canada.
The BHRC also raised questions about the Canadian government's consistency and fairness, especially in relation to its handling of allegations of ongoing human rights violations by the Pakistan Army in Balochistan.
Criticism from Former Pentagon Official
Michael Rubin, a former Pentagon official and senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, criticized Trudeau's response to Baloch's death. During a panel discussion at the Hudson Institute think-tank, Rubin highlighted the disparities in Trudeau's approach, noting that the killing of Karima Baloch, allegedly with Pakistani involvement, remained a police matter and had not been elevated to the level of the Prime Minister's Office.
India-Canada Tensions Escalate
Tensions between India and Canada reached a boiling point earlier this week, triggered by Trudeau's explosive allegations of potential Indian involvement in the assassination of Hardeep Singh Nijjar on Canadian soil in June 2023, in British Columbia. India had designated Nijjar as a terrorist in 2020.
India firmly rejected these allegations as "absurd" and "motivated," resulting in diplomatic repercussions as both nations expelled each other's diplomats in a retaliatory response to the escalating dispute.