Yasmin Qureshi seeks
revision of UK Govt’s
misleading tweet on Pakistan

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LONDOON: British Labour Member of Parliament and Co-chair of All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Pakistan Barrister Yasmin Qureshi MP has asked the British government to amend its misleading tweet which had wrongly likened the sanctions on Myanmar military and Pakistani individual for their human rights violations.

On International Human Rights Day (December 10, 2021), the UK announced new sanctions against the Myanmar military for their “continued suppression of the civilian population and for serious human rights violations.”

The UK had also sanctioned a former commander in the terrorist organisation Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, who helped orchestrate a 2017 bombing in Pakistan.

Barrister Yasmin Qureshi MP

However, the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) tweeted the subject with a headline “New UK sanctions to target human rights violations and abuses in Myanmar and Pakistan.”

In a letter to UK’s Minister of State for Asia at FCDO Amanda Milling, Yasmin Qureshi MP, though welcomed the sanctions imposed on Furqan Bangalzai who helped to orchestrate a bombing in Pakistan.

“I am however disappointed to see that the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office tweeted: “New UK Sanctions to target Human Rights violations and abuses in Myanmar and Pakistan.”

She explained that the extent of sanctions imposed on Myanmar could not in any way be likened to those imposed on an individual member of a terrorist organisation that happened to be based in Pakistan.

“Why then does this tweet suggest that Pakistan that has been sanctioned for human rights violations? In doing so it has created a misleading, clickbait headline that is deeply harmful to Pakistan’s reputation and has caused concern amongst its diaspora community here in the UK,” she commented.

Yasmin Qureshi said that a government department had a responsibility to ensure that its messaging was accurate, fair, and balanced.

“I therefore ask that you amend this tweet to ensure there are two individual tweets, that each clarify the very different set of circumstances – specifically that it is ‘Bangalzai’ who has been sanctioned and not Pakistan,” the parliamentarian explained.

Letter of Labour MP Barrister Yasmin Qureshi sent to Amanda Milling MP, Minister of State for Asia, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office

She also welcomed the announcement to impose sanctions on four departments of the of the Myanmar military. “These sanctions demonstrate the UK’s staunch commitment to hold Myanmar’s military accountable for human rights violations and Britain’s resolve to act, together with partners, to limit its access to arms, equipment, and funding.

She said that was particularly important given Myanmar’s recent history and involvement in the Genocide of Rohingya Muslims.

According to a UK Government’s statement, “The individual designated under the Global Human Rights Sanctions regime today is: Furqan Bangalzai, a former commander in the terrorist organisation Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, for his role in the 2017 bombing of the Lal Shahbaz Qalandar shrine in Sehwan, Pakistan which killed 70 people.”

“Today’s announcement ensures this individual cannot freely travel to the UK, channel money through UK banks or profit from the UK economy,” the statement explained.