WBO condemns British envoy to Pak's statement on 'Free Blochistan' campaign

ANI | Updated: Nov 16, 2017 11:12 IST

Islamabad, [Pakistan], November 16 (ANI): The World Baloch Organisation (WBO) on Thursday condemned the statement made by the British High Commissioner to Pakistan, Thomas Drew, regarding the ongoing advertising campaign in London - 'Free Blochistan'.

"The WBO condemns the statement made by the British High Commissioner to Pakistan, Thomas Drew, regarding our ongoing advertising campaign in London rejecting the call to 'Free Balochistan, 'Stop Enforced Disappearances' and 'Save the Baloch people'," the WBO said, in a statement.

Thomas Drew had expressed his country's inability to control the advertisements against Balochistan in London.

Drew's statement said, "We [the UK] fully respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Pakistan of which Balochistan is and will continue to be an integral part."

Reacting to the statement, the WBO said that the UK was contradicting the very values and principles it stood for.

"The WBO sees this statement as impartial and contradicting the very values and principles the UK stands for. The Honourable British High Commissioner is in no position to know or decide what the people of Balochistan want or what the future for Balochistan might be," the statement said.

"According to the UN Charter, which Britain has signed and pledged to uphold, the people of Balochistan have a right to self-determination. Only the people of Balochistan have the authority to decide their future," the statement added.

The WBO further said that the High Commissioner's statement as willfully ignoring the United Nations' Charter and was a blatant denial of the right to self-determination of the Baloch people by the UK government's representative.

This comes after the World Baloch Organisation launched the third phase of its #FreeBalochistan advertising campaign, in spite of attempts to ban and censor its adverts by the Pakistan Government.

More than 100 London buses are carrying adverts that say "Free Balochistan", "Save The Baloch People" and "Stop Enforced Disappearances".

Bhawal Mengal, spokesperson for the World Baloch Organisation (WBO), said, "This is the third phase of our London campaign to raise awareness about Pakistan's human right abuses in Balochistan and the right of the Baloch people to self-determination. We started with taxi adverts, and then did roadside billboards and now we are advertising on London buses."

"The attempts by the Pakistan Government to pressure the UK to ban our adverts have failed. The campaign is powering ahead and will continue for weeks to come. The bullying tactics of Pakistan are an attack on freedom of expression. This is a peaceful advertising campaign. Pakistan's aggressive reaction is a bare-faced attempt to intimidate the UK Government and Baloch human rights defenders," he added.

The Pakistan Government officials, in a clear bid to quash the freedom of expression and to intimidate human rights activists, called the campaign "malicious" and "anti-Pakistan."

They pressurised the British Government to remove WBO's adverts.

Indeed, within 24 hours, Transport for London ordered the removal of the taxi adverts; though the billboards remained because they were not on TfL property. (ANI)