New UK sanctions target human rights violations and abuses in Pakistan and Myanmar.
On Saturday, The UK government sanctioned a Pakistani national, Furqan Bangalzai. The individual is a former commander of the banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi organization.
Bangalzai is accused of helping orchestrate the bombing of the Lal Shahbaz Qalandar shrine in Sehwan.
The bombing carried out in 2017 killed at least 70 worshippers of the mystical Sufi sect and injured more than 150. The casualties of the brutal attack also included at least four children and 12 women.
Shocked & saddened by condemnable terrorist attack inside Sufi shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar targeting innocent ppl incl women & children.
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) February 16, 2017
The attack was considered an attack on pluralistic Islam in the country. The Sufi sect preaches pluralism focusing on peaceful co-existence and mutual tolerance.
A statement from the UK government on their official website stated that the sanction reinforces the UK government’s commitment to defending minority rights and religious freedoms.
Read More: The resurgence of sectarianism in Pakistan: A threat matrix?
The UK also announced new sanctions placed on the Myanmar military. The sanctions come as a response to the military’s continued suppression of the population and committing human rights violations.
A statement from the UK government said that the sanctions aimed to hold Myanmar’s military accountable. The Myanmar military has committed grave human rights violations, which have prompted us to respond, it further added.
The sanctions would limit the military’s access to arms, equipment, and funding.
Burma Campaign UK Welcomes New UK, US and Canadian Sanctions on Burmese Military https://t.co/6fY8TISQ1A
— Burma Campaign UK (@burmacampaignuk) December 10, 2021
In a statement, the UK’s Minister of State for South Asia, the UN, and the Commonwealth, Lord Tariq Ahmad of Wimbledon, welcomed the decision.
He added that the sanctions target some of the most horrific violations against human rights where people have been targeted because of their religious beliefs.
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He also went on to say that the UK would always be a fierce human rights advocate. He said that the UK would continue working with other democracies to create a network of liberty to hold violators accountable.
The UK has announced the Myanmar sanctions together with the US and Canada.