UK can't control 'Free Balochistan' ads in London: British envoy

ANI | Updated: Nov 16, 2017 07:31 IST

Islamabad [Pakistan], November 16 (ANI): British High Commissioner to Pakistan Thomas Drew has expressed his country's inability to control the advertisements about Balochistan in London.

"I understand the strength of feeling about adverts in London. The British Government does not and cannot control advertising in the U.K. But our own position is clear about the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Pakistan, of which Balochistan is and will continue to be an integral part," Saama TV quoted Drew as saying in response to concerns about advertisements about Balochistan in London.

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)