BNM asks Azerbaijan to investigate the death of Baloch asylum seeker in Baku

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The Baloch National Movement has asked the Azerbaijan government to investigate the mysterious death of Baloch asylum seeker Saqib Karim in Baku. BNM said that given the history of violence against his family, there are fears that Saqib Karim might have been killed. The group said that the circumstances surrounding his death are unclear which begs the need for a thorough investigation by the Azerbaijan government.

Saqib Karim was a political refugee who sought asylum in Azerbaijan to escape the violence in his homeland. His brothers Asim Karim and Tariq Karim were allegedly “forcibly disappeared” in 2011 and murdered. Saqib was a sub-engineer in the Capital Development Authority in Islamabad before he fled Pakistan over threats to his life and sought asylum in Azerbaijan. He was a registered refugee in the UNHCR.

Saqib Karim has been living a life of self-exile in Baku, Azerbaijan, for the past several years. A few days ago, his dead body was found in the ocean under mysterious circumstances. According to journalist Kiyya Baloch, his family members say that he “accidentally” drowned while swimming in the ocean. But right groups and nationalist circles fear otherwise.

In a media statement, the Baloch National Movement said the Pakistani state had a history of animosity towards Saqib Karim and his family. His brothers were detained by the forces and then killed in custody, and this incident forced him to leave his well-settled life and live a life of exile in Azerbaijan. The group said Saqib’s mysterious death merits an investigation by the Azerbaijan authorities.

BNM said that Baloch activists and political workers are not safe in Balochistan. They are forced to seek refuge in foreign countries, but even there they are hunted down and killed in cold blood. BNM said that this is not the first such incident – in May 2020, Baloch journalist Sajid Hussain was found dead in Uppsala, Sweden, and political worker Karima Baloch was also found dead in Toronto, Canada, in December 2020.

There is consensus among forensic experts that homicide by drowning is one of the hardest crimes to prove because no evidence is left on the scene. Expectedly, almost all such incidents are classified as “accidents” and the cases are closed forever. BNM said that relevant authorities should investigate why the Baloch refugees continuously die due to drowning. Why is it that the Baloch political workers and activists travel thousands of miles to foreign lands in search of refuge, only to end up dead in the depths of a river or an ocean? BNM asked.

The BNM spokesperson said: “It is difficult to believe that it was an accidental death after what happened to his brothers, so we request to the government of Azerbaijan to consider the possibility of murder in his investigation because the Pakistani State intelligence agencies had previously targeted political opponents abroad.”


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