Fearful of action by their masters, Imran ‘Taliban’ Khan, the civilian face of terror state of Pakistan who is also referred to as ‘Prime Minister’ in Pakistan, has chosen to be tight-lipped about the persecution of Uighur Muslims by China at a time when the whole world is taking a serious note of the issue.
In an interview to Financial Times, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan spoke extensively on several issues concerning Pakistan, however, evaded responding to Chinese atrocities against its own citizens- the Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang province of China. Reacting to the journalist question, Imran Khan said that he did not know much about the issue.
Despite claiming that the Muslim world was experiencing tough times, Imran Khan deliberately chose not to condemn the Chinese treatment of Muslims as Pakistan fears that condemning China on the issue of Uighur atrocities will be a death knell to them as China has been economically and politically supporting Pakistan.
Pakistan, a ‘rented’ state of China, seems to be in a tough spot as it can neither condemn nor be decisive about the growing concerns about human rights abuse by China against Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang province of China. Pakistan’s deliberate overlooking of Chinese human rights abuse comes despite the fact that their own citizens have been protesting against the Chinese for taking away their wives to detain them in education camps.
In March 2018, the Gilgit Baltistan Legislative Assembly (GBLA), a local administrative unit in the region controlled by Pakistan, had even passed a resolution demanding the federal government in Pakistan to take steps to release over 50 women allegedly detained in China. It seems that Imran Khan is either ignorant regarding the detainment of its own people or he has simply chosen to remain silent fearing blowback from the Chinese establishment.
Imran Khan’s refusal to comment on Chinese atrocities does not come as a surprise as Pakistan itself perpetrates terror in the region and it is also accused of killing its own citizens in Pakistan which amounts to the grave human rights violation.
Interestingly, Pakistan often claims to be at the forefront of taking up the cause for Islam and Muslims whenever Muslim grievances are raised in any part of the world. From the West Bank conflict between Israel and Palestine to the more recent ones caused by cartoons of Prophet Muhammad, Pakistan has been vehement in denouncing the injustices, real and imagined, meted out to the Muslims world over. However, they have willfully turned a deliberately blind eye to this tyranny by China.
Uighurs are a Turkish-Muslims ethnic group living in Xinjiang, the largest and most western of China’s administrative regions surrounded by Mongolia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. The Xinjiang autonomous region in China has had a long history of discord between the authorities and the indigenous ethnic Uighur population.
The indigenous Muslim Uighurs have a complicated relationship with China which is fuelled with growing discontent among Uighur people over ethnic, religious and cultural factors. However, the discontent of the Uighurs had turned to a form of extremism, which China intended to control by curtailing their commercial and cultural activities and by putting restrictions on Islam, strict control over religious schools.
Additionally, China has detained more than one million Uighurs in so-called “reeducation centres” and has forced them to undergo psychological indoctrination programs — like studying communist propaganda and giving thanks to Chinese President Xi Jinping. However, the Chinese government claims that the camps are simply vocational and training centres intended to combat extremism and to teach detainees some useful and valuable skills.
But, China has been sharply criticized for its human rights violation over mass detention of members of the Muslim Uighur community at a United Nations Human Rights Council meeting recently. Western governments, including those in Europe, the United States, and Canada had taken a serious stand against China for its human rights abuse in Xinjiang province.
Recently, on February 9, even the Turkish government issued a stern statement condemning China for violating the fundamental human rights of Uighur Turks and other Muslim communities in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region.
On Wednesday, US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo has issued strong statements over detaining of Uighur Muslims by the Chinese authorities in Xinjiang province. Pompeo further added that the United States stands with the Uighur Muslims and their family members while putting pressure on China to release all those arbitrarily detained and called for an end its repression.
“The world cannot afford China’s shameful hypocrisy toward Muslims. On one hand, China abuses more than a million Muslims at home, but on the other, it protects violent Islamic terrorist groups from sanctions at the UN,” said Pompeo.