Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan in an exclusive interview to Canada’s CBC News dodged the question pertaining to China’s persecution of Uyghur Muslims by saying it is a ‘good neighbour.’
Khan when specifically asked about the genocide of Uyghur Muslims- an indigenous population and regional minorities that are facing persecution by the Chinese authorities, said, “We have economic ties with China, China is our neighbor. They’ve been very good to us in our most difficult times.”
Khan was talking to CBC’s Rosemary Barton in a recent interview.
Asked why he would not defend China’s Uyghur Muslims, PM Imran Khan says: “We have economic ties with China, China is our neighbour. They’ve been very good to us in our most difficult times…if we have concerns we talk about them behind closed doors.” pic.twitter.com/V15dpTCoDd— Naila Inayat (@nailainayat) June 14, 2021
When asked whether or not the persecution of Muslims in China is of concern, Khan informed, “If we have concerns we talk about them behind closed doors.”
Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi parrots the same line
It is imperative to note that the Pakistani government has maintained the same line of response when questioned about the persecution of Uyghur Muslims in China.
In May this year, CNN interviewed Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi when the anchor Bianna Golodryga touched upon the contentious issue of Uyghur Muslims. She asserted, “There are 2 million Uyghurs (in China). Many in the US and other countries around the world are calling their treatment ‘genocide’.” Furthermore, she asked, “And I am wondering why we are not hearing the same from your government?”
However, Shah Mahmood Qureshi refused to give any direct answer to the question and instead said that China is a good friend of Pakistan, hinting that he can’t criticize China over the issue.
“Well, my government has always spoken with factors. You know China is a very good friend of Pakistan. They have stood by us through thick and thin. And we have means of communication. We use our diplomatic channels. We do not discuss everything in public,” Shah Mahmood Qureshi responded.
Imran Khan worried about the growing Islamophobia
CBC News interviewed Khan to talk about the alleged growing Islamophobic ‘hate websites’ especially in the West where he focused on the recent murder of a Muslim family in Canada.
He also called on the world leaders to initiate a crackdown on online hate and extremism against Islam.
“Everyone is shocked in (Pakistan) because we saw the family picture, and so a family being targeted like that has had a deep impact in Pakistan. When there are these hate websites which create hatred amongst human beings, there should be an international action against them,” added Khan.
However, when probed on why he hasn’t publicly advocated for Uyghur Muslims in China, Khan indulged in whataboutery.
Canada’s parliament labels China’s persecution of Uyghur’s a “genocide”
Lawmakers in the Canadian parliament had voted to pass an amendment asking Canada to call on the International Olympic Committee to move the 2022 Winter Olympics from Beijing “if the Chinese government continues this genocide”.
China, however, has raised strong objections over nations accusing the Chinese government of a “genocide” dismissing it as ‘baseless’ and ‘far from reality.’