WORLD Detention camps: Why Pakistan is silent about plight of fellow Muslims in China


December 22, 2018

ISLAMABAD/JAKARTA: Hundreds of Muslims held a rally outside the Chinese embassy in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, on Friday to protest against the treatment of members of the mostly Muslim ethnic Uighur minority in China’s far western Xinjiang region.
Up to 1 million ethnic Muslims in China’s Xinjiang region are estimated to be detained in camps where they are subjected to political indoctrination and pressured to give up their religion.
The United Nations called for the immediate release of those detained on the “pretext of countering terrorism”.
China says Xinjiang faces a threat from Islamist militants and separatists. It rejects all accusations of mistreatment and denies mass internment, although Chinese officials have said some citizens guilty of minor offences were being sent to vocational centres to work.
China worries that Uighurs, who speak a Turkic language, have gone to places like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria and Iraq to fight for militants.
China describes the sites as vocational centers and says the trainees work voluntarily.


Why Pakistan defends China over detention camps
A day before Indonesian protests, Pakistan defended China against a growing outcry over Muslims who are being detained by Chinese authorities, saying the issue was being “sensationalised” by foreign media.
“Some faction of foreign media are trying to sensationalise the matter by spreading false information,” Mohammad Faisal, spokesman for Pakistans ministry of foreign affairs, told reporters at a weekly press briefing in Islamabad on Thursday.
Pakistanis often rally loudly in defense of Islam and Muslims whenever they are perceived offended around the world — most recently over cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad. In 1989, protests spread from Pakistan elsewhere, leading to the fatwa by Iran’s Ayatollah Ruholla Khomeini against author Salman Rushdie for his depiction of Islam in his book Satanic Verses.

But political and economic factors, including concerns about losing out on vast Chinese investments, have kept Pakistan and other Muslim countries silent about the plight in China of fellow Muslims, the Uighurs.
“Cold, hard interests will always carry the day” in international relations, said Michael Kugelman, deputy director of the Asia Program at the Washington-based Wilson Center.
“The Muslim world’s deafening silence about China’s treatment of Muslims can be attributed to its strong interest in maintaining close relations with the world’s next superpower,” he added.
China is financing major development projects in cash-strapped Pakistan. Islamabad says the $75 billion development project known as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor — part of an effort to reconstruct the historic Silk Road linking China to all corners of Asia — will bring new prosperity to Pakistan, where the average citizen lives on just $125 a month.
Mushahid Hussain, chairman of Pakistan’s Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, said the cardinal principle of Pakistan-China relations is to refrain from commenting on anything to do with the other’s domestic issues.
“Given the relationship of Pakistan with China, and in the Muslim world in particular, the Chinese narrative is apparently being accepted across the board as the one that is correct,” Hussain said.


Source : TOI



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