Days after US President Donald Trump met Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, the United States has called out Pakistan for displaying apathy for the plight of Uighur Muslims held in detention centres in Xinjiang province of China. Reprimanding Pakistan for its propagandist rhetoric about the alleged human rights violations committed in Jammu and Kashmir, the United States has asked Pakistan to show more concern for the condition of Muslims in China.
The US Acting Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia Alice Wells while addressing the issue of heightened tensions between the nuclear-armed South Asian neighbours in the wake of abrogation of Article 370 urged both the countries to reduce the rhetoric. “Mr Khan’s comments on Kashmir were unhelpful. A lowering of rhetoric would be welcome, especially between two nuclear powers,” she said.
Pointing out at the stoic silence espoused by Pakistan regarding the detention of over 1 million Uighur Muslims by China, Wells said, “I would like to see the same level of concern displayed by Pakistan about Muslims who are being detained in Western China, almost like in concentration chamber. The issue of the trampling of human rights of Muslims is not just limited to Kashmir but applies broadly across the world and you’ve seen the administration very involved here during the UN General Assembly and trying to highlight horrific conditions that Muslims in China are subjected to,” she said.
Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan was caught between two stools while he was waxing eloquent about the alleged human rights violations committed by the Indian Armed Forces in Jammu and Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370 on Monday during an event organised by Council on Foreign Research. Khan was put in a fix when he was asked to comment on the human rights violations committed by China on Uighur Muslims.
During the interaction with media professionals, when one of the attendees asked Khan to comment on the plight of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang province of China and the horrifying atrocities they are being subjected to by the Chinese regime, he declined to comment on the issue. Khan avoided the issue by saying that crucial issues are discussed with China in private as they had been at Pakistan’s side when they had hit rock bottom and thus he would desist from speaking anything on the Chinese treatment given out to Uighur Muslims.
Not just Imran Khan, several senior-level Pakistani administrators have consistently refused to speak on the condition of Uighur Muslims in China, lest they rub their “all-weather ally” the wrong way.
China is facing criticism from the world community for pursuing harsh policies against the Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang. Damning reports blaming Beijing of interning members of its Muslim population – by “re-educating” them away from their faith have emerged. It is believed that China has resorted to this measure to curb riots and violent attacks the government has endured at the hands of Muslim separatists in the Xinjiang province.
In these detention centres, Uighur Muslims are allegedly compelled to unlearn their traditions, pan their Islamic practices and extend their loyalty to Xi Jinping’s Communist Party. Many Islamic countries such as Pakistan, Iran and Saudi Arabia, who are otherwise at the forefront of taking up the cudgel to defend atrocities against Muslims have kept mum against China. Possibly because China has either been aggressively investing in these countries or bailing them out of their economic crisis.