Period 3 of #FreeBalochistan Effort: London bus adverts

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Period 3 of #FreeBalochistan Effort: London bus adverts

Bid to emphasize Pakistan’s human rights abuses in occupied Balochistan

London, UK — 14 November 2017

In spite of all efforts to ban and censor its commercials, the World Baloch Organisation has this week launched the third phase of its “#FreeBalochistan” advertising campaign: more than 100 London buses are carrying adverts that say “Free Balochistan”, “Save Your Baloch People” and “Stop Enforced Disappearances”.

Bhawal Mengal, spokesperson for the World Baloch Organisation (WBO), that organised the advertisements, stated:

” This is the third phase of the London campaign to boost consciousness about Pakistan’s human right abuses in Balochistan and also the best of the Baloch people to self-determination. We began with cab commercials, subsequently did roadside billboards and now we are advertisements on London buses. The efforts by the Pakistan government to pressure the UK to ban our commercials have failed. The campaign is powering ahead and will continue for weeks to come. The bullying tactics of Pakistan are still an assault on freedom of expression. They are an increasingly anti-democratic bidding to censor the voice of the Baloch people and cover up the war crimes of the Pakistan army in Balochistan. This can be a calm advertising campaign. Pakistan’s competitive reaction is a bare-faced effort to bully the UK government and Baloch human rights defenders.”

Pakistan government officials, in a transparent  bid to curtail freedom of expression and to intimidate human rights activists, known as the campaign “malicious” and “anti-Pakistan.” They pressured the British government to eliminate WBO’s adverts. Really, in 24 hours Transport for London ordered the removal of their cab adverts; though the billboards remained because they were not on TfL property.

WBO will continue, respectfully and peacefully, to speak out against human rights violations in Balochistan.

Articles regarding the WBO campaign have been published by Pakistani and Indian media, and from the British newspapers along with :

Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell is a long-time supporter of human rights in Balochistan and is currently backing the marketing campaign:

“Pakistan is trying to inflict on the UK the identical censorship about Balochistan it imposes inside Pakistan. This can be an outrageous bid to subvert our democratic tradition of letting the free exchange of ideas. Pakistan’s iron-fisted rule in Balochistan is so brutal it will not allow journalists, human rights monitors and assist agencies to go into the region. These commercials are required to safeguard the human rights of the Baloch people and to expose the atrocities of the Pakistani military and intelligence agencies.”

Noordin Mengal, another Top WBO human rights campaigner, included:

“Tens of thousands of Baloch people have been murdered or disappeared from the Pakistan security forces. The killings are happening right now and are aided by British and American weapon systems that are being diverted to assault on the Baloch people, including the abuse of US provided F-16 fighter jets and Cobra attack helicopters.

“Balochistan was previously a British protectorate that was given independence in 1947. It had been forcefully annexed by Pakistan in 1948 and has been militarily occupied ever since. The people of Balochistan have been refused the right to self-determination, in contrast to the UN Charter.

“The World Baloch Organisation is a calm, legal lobby against Pakistan’s war crimes and human rights abuses in Balochistan,” said Noordin Mengal.