LONDON: The United Kingdom’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has refused to take up any action against the removal of anti-Pakistan advertisements from London’s buses and taxis, reported Times of India.
“I have informed the complainant that we will not pursue the matter because, based on the facts available to us, there doesn’t seem to be a breach of the UK Code of Non-Broadcasting Advertising (CAP Code),” a letter from the complaint executive of the organisation read.
The ASA Council acknowledged the subject “Free Balochistan” was a politically-sensitive one, but noted that “the advertiser had a right to express their views, as long as they were in line with the rules in the advertising code”.
The Council also clarified that its role was only limited to assessing what appeared in the ads themselves as opposed to what the ad intended to express.
“The Council considered that the tagline ‘FreeBalochistan’ was an invitation to find out more about a particular political cause, and the ad itself did not make any specific claim that threatened the territorial integrity or sovereignty of Pakistan,” the letter further read.
The letter was a response to a complaint against the advertorial by the Pakistan high commissioner and one member of the general public.
The complainants objected to the ad, and specifically the slogan “free Balochistan”, saying it was irresponsible and offensive to the Pakistani diaspora considering that Balochistan was an integral region of Pakistan.
Earlier, the posters reading “Free Balochistan” slogans reportedly appeared on vehicles in London.
Earlier this year during the United Nation General Assembly meeting, similar posters had appeared in the Swiss city of Geneva, irking Pakistani people and government to a large extent.
The Foreign Office spokesperson had blamed India for the emergence of the anti-Pakistan posters in Geneva, Switzerland. Moreover, Pakistan had linked the posters to the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), which, he said, is a “listed terrorist organisation under the laws of Pakistan and other countries, including the United Kingdom”.