Sajid Hussain was killed allegedly by agents working on orders of the Pakistan embassy in Stockholm.
New Delhi: The death of a Baloch journalist, Sajid Hussain, whose decomposed body was found floating in Fyris river, Uppsala, Sweden, more than 50 days after he disappeared, has become the subject of investigation of the Swedish National Unit against Organized Crime (NUOC). Till 1 May, the local Uppsala police, under whose jurisdiction the body was found, was investigating the case.
This new development has confirmed the suspicion of Hussain’s friends, relatives and other journalists pursuing the case that Hussain, as is being alleged by people close to him, was killed by private agents that were working on the orders of the Pakistan embassy in Stockholm. This “killing” has led to a heightened sense of fear among Baloch nationalists and other Pakistan dissenters staying in European countries.
The taking over of Hussain’s case by NUOC, Sweden, becomes significant as it deals with combating organised, cross-border crime and to seek international co-operation between prosecutors. It has offices at three locations in the country (Stockholm, Goteborg and Malmo).
The 39-year-old Hussain, who had fled Pakistan in 2012 following a police raid on his house and subsequent threats on his life that he had been receiving for his reporting on corruption, forced disappearances and human rights violations in Balochistan, had been living in Sweden since 2017. He was granted political asylum in the country a year later. He had registered himself at the Uppsala University, 60 km from Stockholm, in January this year to study Arabic language and also teach students there as a temporary lecturer.
One of his friends told The Sunday Guardian: “His laptop was stolen by ISI officials in 2012 to prepare a ground for his arrest.
This made Hussain make up his mind to move away from Pakistan. He first moved to Oman, then to UAE, then Uganda, before moving to Sweden in 2017. He had a difficult time in the last 5-7 years, but now things had smoothened out for him.”
In a city such as Uppsala, where the population is less than 2 lakh and the crime is limited to minor car accidents and people cursing each other, Hussain’s death, in such mysterious circumstances and the fact that he was missing for more than 50 days, has raised several questions.
A Sweden-based associate of Hussain said: “He went missing on 2 March, his body was found on 23 April. Where was he all these days? He knew how to swim, he was very much happy in his life. It is clear that he was executed somewhere else and the body dumped in the river. Such crimes do not take place in Sweden. It is a message that has been given by the ISI to all the dissenters.”
The Sunday Guardian reached out to the Governor of Uppsala, Goran Enander, who directed this newspaper to the Swedish police authority. In her response to this newspaper, Ulrika Lindso, Senior Public Prosecutor, Swedish Prosecution Authority, said that they were not in a position right now to share any information.
According to one of Hussain’s close friends, who too is based in Sweden, Hussain was last seen boarding a train from Stockholm to Uppsala to collect keys to his new apartment and leave his personal belongings there.
According to official sources, video footages from surveillance cameras of 2 March show Hussain taking a train from Stockholm, getting down at Uppsala, going to the rented apartment and handing over his bag to the people in the apartment. Some hours later, he is seen at a petrol pump, standing, surrounded by few unknown people. And then the trace goes blank.
After moving from Pakistan. Hussain had started an online magazine, the Balochistan Times, in which he continued to write about the forced disappearances that were happening in Balochistan. “He had good contacts in Balochistan and would get solid information from the ground and develop a story. Obviously, this was not liked by people sitting in GHQ, Rawalpindi,” his associate added.
Daniel Bastard, the head of RSF’s (Reporters Without Borders) Asia-Pacific desk, in a statement said: “Everything indicates that this is an enforced disappearance. And if you ask yourself who would have an interest in silencing a dissident journalist, the first response would have to be the Pakistani intelligence services.”
Later, in a letter to European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen, four MEPs—Helmut Geuking, Peter Lundgren, Ryszard Czarnecki, Bogdan Rzonca—accused Pakistan’s spy agency, Inter-Services Intelligence, of silencing human rights defenders and journalists in Europe.
Baloch nationalists shared a video of former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf, who while interacting with a journalist in Dubai in 2017, claims that as a part of “pro-active diplomacy”, Pakistan had eliminated dissenters across the world in multiple numbers by making their death look like an accident.

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