2023 Excellence in Audio Digital Storytelling, Limited Series finalist

The Kill List

About the Project

When a leading human rights activist and vocal critic of Pakistan is found dead, many immediately suspect murder. Assassinations of dissidents like her are commonplace in Pakistan.

But Karima Baloch was found drowned off the shores of Toronto – the city where she’d fled for her life.

Within hours of her death in late 2020, the Toronto police seemingly ended their investigation, ruling out foul play and saying nothing more. But those close to Karima, human rights organizations and protesters around the world demanded answers – how did Karima escape death in Pakistan, only to die in Canada?

That was the question host Mary Lynk set out to answer as she embarked on the journey that would become The Kill List more than a year later. Like most Western journalists, Lynk knew little about Karima or the conflict she was escaping, but once Lynk began learning, she couldn’t stop. She had arrived at a story that others had died trying to tell – one that she could truthfully and safely report on and provide international attention to. And what began as an investigation into Karima’s death quickly became an investigation into one of the world’s worst human rights crises – a secret well kept by the Pakistani state.

Through harrowing interviews and a deeply-reported investigation, Lynk and producer Ilina Ghosh take listeners deep inside the horrors facing the people of Karima’s homeland – the restive province of Balochistan.

The series painstakingly lays out the Pakistani state’s efforts to crush Baloch dissent through rampant violence, abduction and assassination. While the government denies the charges, thousands remain missing and hundreds of bodies have been returned with signs of brutal torture. Elsewhere in Pakistan, activists and journalists increasingly fear the same fate. And in recent years, dissidents feel under threat no matter how far from Pakistan they flee – even in the West.

Over six episodes, the series reveals state-sanctioned kill lists of Pakistani dissidents at home and abroad; a plot to assassinate a Pakistani dissident on Western soil; the heinous actions of Pakistan’s feared intelligence agency; and the experiences of those who have survived the state’s campaign to silence them.