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Pakistan double standards on Uyghurs – New Delhi Times

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Pakistan has been dead silent on the mistreatment of the Uyghur Muslims

Pakistan feigns love for Muslims’ causes by raising the Kashmir issue everywhere- be it in the United Nations, the OIC, or any other international platform – but maintains stoic silence on the torture of Uyghur Muslims by the Chinese authorities. Islamabad never admits the problem, let alone fighting the menace.

In June this year, Washington slapped economic sanctions on Chinese Communist Party officials for their mistreatment of the Uyghurs Muslims. This caused deep embarrassment for Islamabad which fakes its concerns for fellow Muslims. Now, Trump administration has become the leading advocate of Muslim rights in China.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said recently, “The United States will not stand idly as the Chinese Communist Party carries out human rights abuses targeting Uyghurs, ethnic Kazakhs and members of other minority groups in Xinjiang, to include forced labour, arbitrary mass detention, and forced population control, and attempts to erase their culture and Muslim faith.” The statement is in stark contrast with PM Imran Khan’s statement who, when asked about the plight of fellow Muslims in China, had shamelessly said, “Frankly, I don’t know much about that.”

But everyone, except Imran Khan, knows what actually is happening. Many Western think tanks and journalists have documented the detention by the Chinese government of hundreds of thousands of its Muslim citizens in the so-called re-education camps. The detainees have been targeted for contacting people from any of the 26 countries China considers sensitive, such as Turkey and Afghanistan; attending mosques; having too many children (more than three); and sending texts containing Quranic verses. Often, being Muslim has been their only crime.

Uyghur exiles even speak of the Quran being burnt but no one in the Muslim world reacts to these allegations. It poses an awkward question: when an American soldier or any other country soldier burns religious verses, Pakistanis riot violently, but when a Chinese soldier does the same thing, they shrug their shoulders, and look the other way. Pakistan has been dead silent on the mistreatment of the Uyghur Muslims. It is even more absurd to note that Pakistan itself has been targeting the religious minorities of the country under the draconian Blasphemy Law, which doesn’t tolerate any insult to the mainstream Islam like the burning of Quranic verses.

Pakistan’s silence on situation of Muslims in China hints towards ulterior motives which is both politically and economically motivated. Not Pakistan alone but the Muslim world at large has abandoned the Uyghur Muslims. Turkey as the lone Muslim country showed solidarity in 2019 when it blamed that the Chinese treatment of the Uyghurs was “a great embarrassment for humanity”. But President Erdogan has since backed down from that position, saying a solution could be found to help Muslims interned in Chinese camps “taking into account the sensitivities” of both sides. So much for the post Ottoman powerhouse.

The silence of the Muslim world is a collective failure, but the failure to defend the Uyghurs is starker in Pakistan which was created in 1947 as an ideological state and a leader of the Muslims around the globe. Islamic Summit in Lahore in 1974 attracted the leaders from all over the Muslim world. Pakistanis boast of their central role in the Ummah. The nuclear bomb tests in 1998 strengthened Pakistan’s position as the vanguard of Muslim states and a Muslim leader with international heft. And now American Christians are defending Uyghurs more stoutly than Pakistan Muslims!

Pakistan remains silent because it wants to protect its trade, security and diplomatic relationship with China. In Pakistan’s case, national interest has become paramount than human rights. Pakistan frequently denounces the US as hypocritical but thinks of itself as a paragon of virtue.

Pakistan has just one question in mind- why the Western governments don’t take more interest in Kashmiri rights and it could definitely seek answer in the same reason why Pakistan doesn’t take more interest in Uyghur rights. The answer will definitely hit the Bulls eyes as Pakistan’s double standards have always viewed some (China) more equal than others (India).

Photo Credit : Getty Images

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