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November 16, 2017

After cabs, anti-Pakistan campaign on London buses also stopped

Top Story

November 16, 2017

LONDON: The Transport for London (TfL) has ordered over 100 red buses to immediately remove posters carrying slogans against Pakistan.

A spokesman for the TfL, the body that runs London’s transport network, told The News that it has started a high-profile internal inquiry against its staff who cleared the advertisement which clearly broke the advertising rules. It’s understood that the TfL has asked the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) to explain why it approved the adverts that appeared on London buses.  It has been confirmed that posters from 35 buses were removed on Wednesday and the rest will be removed on Thursday by the enforcement officers, appointed by the TfL. 

Speaking to this correspondent, the TfL said that the latest advertisement campaign was in violation of the advertising guidelines set by the government. He said it was clear that the incompetence on part of some of its employees had been used to target Pakistan. “This advert does not comply with our advertising guidelines. It was accepted in error by our advertising partner and was not referred to us for our consideration. We have instructed that all such adverts must be removed immediately,” the TfL spokesperson said.

The adverts were launched first on London cabs and then on buses by a group calling itself World Baloch Organisation. Then on billboards pictures of Bhawal Mengal also appeared along with the posters. He is nephew of exiled Baloch leader Mehran Marri but Baloch sources have confirmed that Mehran Baloch, who is understood to be in Switzerland these days, has nothing to do with this campaign. Mehran Baloch has been campaigning at the European level for almost two decades and has been living in London too but his associates have denied any link with the latest campaign. The London advertisement campaign is copy of the campaign run in Geneva two months ago by the Balochistan House organisation. 

It was only last week that the TfL ordered the removal of offensive advertisements from London cabs immediately which carried the same slogans and posters on cabs that were then carried on London buses. It’s understood that the Advertising Standards Agency has also launched an internal inquiry against four staff members who approved adverts for cabs and buses. 

The TfL said that it was not aware that advertisement has also been booked for the buses when it ordered removal of adverts from black cabs last week. The Pakistan High Commission confirmed that it has made complaint to the TfL on both occasions and has been assured by TfL that it will investigate the matter fully.

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