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'Free Balochistan' ads appear on London buses

Press Trust of India  |  London 

Activists campaigning for an independent have launched a new phase of an advertising drive on buses to raise awareness against alleged human rights abuses in the restive province by the The World Baloch Organisation said the latest drive will see more than 100 buses with adverts carrying slogans like "Free Balochistan", "Save The Baloch People" and "Stop Enforced Disappearances" from this week. "This is the third phase of our campaign to raise awareness about Pakistan's human right abuses in and the right of the Baloch people to self-determination. We started with taxi adverts, then did roadside billboards and now we are advertising on buses, said Bhawal Mengal, spokesperson for the organisation. He claimed that the had pressured Transport for (TfL) to ban the adverts on transport but it had failed in its "bullying tactics". "This is a peaceful advertising campaign.

Pakistans aggressive reaction is a bare-faced attempt to intimidate the UK and Baloch human rights defenders, said Mengal. The advertising campaign has been backed by British human rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell, who said Pakistans attempts to prevent them amounted to "censorship" and anti- democratic. "These adverts are much needed to defend the human rights of the Baloch people and to expose the atrocities of the Pakistani military and intelligence agencies, he said. "Pakistan's iron-fisted rule in is so brutal that it will not allow journalists, human rights monitors and aid agencies to enter the region, he added. Baloch people argue that they are ethnically and culturally different from the rest of and have been campaigning for an independent nation for years. dismisses any notion of a "free Balochistan" as an attack on its sovereignty. on November 3 had summoned the British High Commissioner in Islamabad to protest over the "Free Balochistan" slogans displayed on cabs that it said attacked the country's territorial integrity and sovereignty. is the largest of Pakistan's four provinces, but people in the restive region have long complained that they do not get a fair share of its natural resources. "was previously a British protectorate that was granted independence in 1947. It was forcefully annexed by in 1948 and has been militarily occupied ever since. The people of have been denied the right to self- determination, contrary to the UN Charter," said Noordin Mengal, a member of the World Baloch Organisation. The organisation describes itself as a non-violent and democratic international membership organisation dedicated to defending the Baloch peoples' political, social and cultural rights.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, November 14 2017. 18:13 IST