From speaking out loud and clear in the General Assembly of the UN for the people of Kashmir to standing in solidarity with the people of Azerbaijan, Prime Minister Imran Khan has always been vocal about the injustice Muslims face around the world. However, when it comes to the abuse of Muslims in Uyghur, we observe nothing but silence.
Chinese local authorities have reportedly held hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs and other Muslim ethnic minorities in detention camps in the Xinjiang region since 2017. They are doing it for “Re-education” and “countering terrorism”, as stated by the Xinjiang authorities. Reports of the violation of human rights and abuse are surfacing.
Several countries and organizations, including Australia, Bahrain, New Zealand, Turkey, the U.K, and Switzerland, have expressed their concerns. It is also confirmed that China’s government uses broad monitoring techniques in the region. Furthermore, Muslim communities have allegedly been pressured to reshape their homes to make them “Chinese” and frightened of arrest if they do not obey them.
Along with Pakistan, several Muslim countries have maintained their silence on this issue and have raised suspicion. Even OIC has not given a concrete statement opposing the brutality that has now been reported and confirmed by several reporters and journalists.
During the Foreign Minister of the OIC meeting back in 2019, it seemed highly unlikely that they would ignore this plight. Still, there was no word of condemnation for China – a behaviour that sent a wave of shock and contempt around the Muslims globally. However, Pakistan, it seems, is clearly hesitant to oppose China.
In the past, Pakistan has had good relations with China, being the first country to recognize the latter after its establishment, and their economic relations are blooming. Economic corridors are a significant demand for the development of every nation in this era of continuous growth. China is more trustworthy and Pakistan’s constant companion than other countries in the region without any doubts.
CPEC is a good example of such economic corridors. Negligence on the Uighurs would cost the reputation of Pakistan in the Kashmir affair as well. Khan stated earlier that the level of these two problems is distinct. However, if Pakistan wishes to be seen as a real Leader of Muslims and human and civil rights while speaking on Kashmir, this claim would not be enough.
“China has helped us,” Khan said. “They came to help us when we were at rock bottom, and so we are really grateful to the Chinese government.”
That might be one reason Pakistan has not said a word against this cruelty, along with the fact that Pakistan is not in a position to stand up against an economic superpower without another superpower having its back. Pakistan and the U.S. don’t exactly share a cordial relationship, and hence, Pakistan can not lose the support and economic aid China offers.
On the one hand, Pakistan is facing pressure from the Muslims to speak out for Uyghurs and, on the other hand, is held back by its healthy democratic relations with China. It is as Frank Herbert said,
“When Politics and Religion are intermingled, a people is suffused with a sense of invulnerability, and gathering speed in their forward charge, they fail to see the cliff ahead of them.”
Article by, The Hub Daily’s Writer
Edited and Managed: Javeria Qadeer