If the English word ‘Hypocrisy’ ever required an example, there could be no better contender than Pakistan with its Prime Minister Imran Khan as the chief protagonist holding the coveted crown. Imran khan is vocal on Kashmir at United Nations General Assembly in New York, but silent on atrocities by China on Uyghurs – writes Romesh Chaudhry
This ‘Islamic Republic’ has delved into much hue & cry in the past couple of years along with few like-minded side kicks in ballooning the propaganda bubble of “Islamophobia” with countries like U.S. & India at the crosshairs. However, the inhuman tortures & open persecution of Uyghurs never dared to fare in the list of Islamophobic actions.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has refused to condemn or acknowledge the repression and torture of Uyghur Muslim community in China time and again. When asked to comment on the issue a couple of months back, he had replied, “I’m not sure that’s what’s happening in China. In our conversations with China, they have drawn a different picture of the issue. And whatever issues we do have with the Chinese, we will always discuss them behind closed doors”.
In a recent interview he also added, “Because of our extreme proximity and relationship with China, we actually accept the Chinese version. It is hypocritical. There are much worse human rights violations taking place in other parts of the world…But Western media hardly comment on this”.
While the above happens to be the official statement, the actual views of people within Pakistan are totally different. A study was conducted in the National Defense University (NDU), Pakistan in June 2021 that brought out inferences quite contrary to Pak’s official stance on Uighur problem. The study was conducted by a group of four officers of Pak Defense Forces namely Rida Zaynab, Hira Sajjad, Iman Zafar Awan, Maidah Riyaz.
The outcome of this project was quite in sync with the global views on present Uyghur problem in Xinjiang, China. The research group approved the fact that China has been detaining Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in concentration camps since 2017. Approximately 3 million Uyghurs, other Muslims and ethnic minorities have been imprisoned in these camps. Xinjiang government and its Chinese Communist party (CCP) provincial committee operates these camps. The research paper underlined that the deduced Motive behind this is to demolish the Uyghur culture and their Islamic identity from their region.
Earlier China denied the existence of these camps but later on when leaked videos and documents about them exposed the government then China claimed that these are only re-education camps where they educate and train people to eradicate religious extremism and to improve Xinjiang economic condition.
The study group also highlighted the targeted persecution of these Muslim minorities in China through forced labor, physical & mental abuse and surveillance & violations of their family Life by systematic separation of their families making family programs as a compulsory part of the Xinjiang classroom policy. The whole aim seems to be fixated at erasing Uyghur culture while restricting their religious practices like marriage ceremonies, wearing, fasting during Ramadan, pilgrimage to Mecca, performing religious burial rites and even to the extent of destruction of many religious and cultural sacred sites, mosques and burial places belonging to these ethnic minorities.
China has made multi-billion-dollar investments through its Belt and Road infrastructure program and so it controls every pearl that is a part of that string. Any country that has economic associations or dependency on China might not or may not openly condemn its actions.
Pakistan’s economy on the other hand has been on ventilator life support for quite some time. With recent alienation of U.S. and western financial giants like World Bank & IMF going niggardly on loans & financial aids, the only way Imran Khan can elude bankruptcy is by being in good books of CCP, ensuring a steady flow of money via projects like CPEC. With neck deep in Chinese debt trap, Pakistan has no options other than turning a blind eye towards a literal ‘Muslim Genocide’ in China.
The sentiments of common Pakistani citizens are definitely not congruent with the stance of their elected govt regarding their Muslim brethren in Xinjiang, China. While the Pakistani media prefers to remain silent on this burning issue, thanks to a deep state that has entirely clipped their wings, there are definite hushed rumblings within the corridors of various govt institutions including the Pak Army. However, it would be incorrect on the part of Uyghurs to expect any positive support from Pakistan for their cause as the state machinery acts vigorously as per Chinese policies and directives in tracking, apprehending & handing over any Uyghur who has fled China & seeking shelter in Pakistan.
Ultimately, the onus lies on the U.S. and like-minded countries to work in a coordinated fashion & pressurize China to stop the ongoing atrocities against the Uyghurs. The new U.S. administration should take the lead in a new approach to tailor a violence prevention toolkit to meet the evolving challenges of the future. Needless to say that the acts for any fruitful outcome have to take the route of ruthless arm twisting & plentiful moves on the chessboard of global geopolitics.
Guest posts are the personal opinions of the author and not necessarily endorsed by EU Reporter.