UK can’t control anti-Pakistan advertising: Envoy

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by SHAFQAT ALI

ISLAMABAD – United Kingdom High Commissioner Thomas Drew on Wednesday said that the British government could not control anti-Pakistan advertising in the UK.

Responding to concerns about adverts about Balochistan in London, the The British high commissioner said: “I understand the strength of feeling about adverts in London. The British government does not and cannot control advertising in the UK.”

He added: “But our own position is clear: we fully respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Pakistan , of which Balochistan is and will continue to be an integral part.”

This month, Pakistan had summoned Thomas Drew and lodged strong protest over the hate slogans against Pakistan in London.

Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua had called in the British high commissioner “to convey Pakistan’s serious concern at the display of slogans on London cabs that directly attack Pakistan’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.”

The high commissioner was informed that Pakistan rejects actions and advertisements with malicious content that “impinge on our sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

The foreign ministry said the posters were being used for propaganda by the banned Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA).

Pakistan said the BLA had been banned not only by Islamabad but several other countries of the world.

Later this month the “Transport for London” authorities – after taking suitable action for removal of the malicious material – initiated an inquiry in the matter and assured disciplinary action against the perpetrators.

A foreign ministry statement said: “Pakistan appreciates the prompt steps taken against such propaganda, which impinges the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Pakistan .We are aware of the sinister intentions behind such malicious campaigns. These should not be repeated anywhere.”

This week however, the so-called “World Baloch Organisation (WBO)” once again carried out an advertising campaign demanding “independence” for Balochistan.

In the latest campaign, the WBO put up “Free Balochistan” posters on over 100 London public transportation buses.

Spokesperson for WBO Bhawal Mengal said: “This is the third phase of our London campaign to raise awareness about Pakistan ‘s human rights abuses in Balochistan and the right of the Baloch people to self-determination. We started with taxi adverts, then roadside billboards and now we are advertising on London buses.”

Asked why the implementation of the gas pipeline project between Pakistan and Iran was delayed, Honardoost said Iran had fulfilled its commitments regarding construction of gas pipeline in the Iranian section and was ready to start export of gas to Pakistan at the earliest in case of implementation of the commitments by Pakistan .

He said no energy source could be replacement of the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline for growing gas requirements of Pakistan .

“Especially in view of implementation of [the] CPEC [China-Pakistan Economic Corridor] project, Iranian gas will not only fulfil the gas requirements of Pakistan in the coming years rather its transit to China can also be considered,” Honardoost explained. couretsy The Nation

 

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