Sajid Hussain Baloch, the editor-in-chief of the Balochistan Times, who had been missing for two months is no more. The Baloch journalist's dead body was discovered from a river in Uppsala in Sweden, where he had been living as a refugee since 2011.
The Swedish Police confirmed the news of Hussain's death on Thursday and also broke the sad news to the family.
Prior to fleeing to Sweden, Hussain worked in various mainstream Pakistani publications, but his reporting attracted trouble. Hussain chronicled the sufferings of the Baloch people, but reporting Balochistan's forbidden stories came at a price. But he felt threatened to live in the province and had to flee the country in 2012. According to Hussain's wife Shehnaz, Hussain had sensed someone was following him after writing about the forced disappearances exposed a drug kingpin in Pakistan, BBC reported.
Hussain moved around a lot since his exile and lived in Oman, UAE and Uganda until he finally sought asylum in Sweden in 2017. It was in Sweden that he started Balochistan Times, which exposed the atrocities and human rights abuse by PAK authorities in the province.
According to a statement issued by the Human Rights Council of Balochistan (HRCB), Hussain decided to move to private student accommodation in Uppsala on March 2 for his work and studies. He had remained in contact with his friends until 2 p.m. that day, post which his phone went off and there was no trail of him.
His disappearance since March 2 raised several questions and concerns were raised over Hussain's safety. The Committee to Protect Journalists urged the Swedish authorities to find the missing journalist and ensure his safety. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) also issued statements urging the authorities to locate him and pointed out the involvement of Pakistani security agencies in targeting journalists living abroad.
Wajid Hussain Baloch, Sajid's brother, who remains in Pakistan, denied having any knowledge of who was behind the disappearance of his brother. "We don't know whom we are fighting."
But on April 30, Hussain's body was found in Uppsala, which has left everyone in shock and dismay. Hussain, who was 39, is survived by his wife and two children. Writing about his death, Balochistan Times released a report and an obituary. It reads:
"We at Balochistan Times are deeply saddened by the demise of our dear friend and the founder of this magazine. We would like to extend our most sincere condolences to his family. Also, we express gratitude to his former colleagues, friends, journalists and rights organisations for speaking up for him after his disappearance. Sajid will forever remain in our thoughts."
Pakistan is considered one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist. According to the RSF Press Freedom Index, PAK ranks 142 out of 180 countries. The Pakistani military has long been accused of torturing people of Balochistan. Killings of non-Baloch ethnic groups and disappearing of people from the region haunted the western province of Pakistan.
It is suspected that PAK's ISI is behind the mysterious disappearance as well as the death of Hussain. According to ANI, Faiz Baloch, a journalist based in London, believes proxies of ISI to be responsible for the killing of Hussain.
"Yes, one cannot rule out their involvement because previously they threatened Baloch activists with dire consequences. General Musharraf also threatened that the Baloch working against Pakistan on foreign soil should be dealt with."
Baloch National Movement spokesperson, Hammal Haider expressed concerns for other Baloch journalists living in the west following the suspicious death of Hussain. Even though he said a foul play is suspected, an official forensic report is awaited to be certain of the truth.