Imran Khan remains mum on Uyghur plight even as he targets OIC on Kashmir

Pakistan PM Imran Khan even as he launched an attack on OIC for failing to speaking in one voice on the Kashmir issue had no sympathy for Uyghurs and their state of affairs in China.

Even as he indirectly chided OIC leader Saudi Arabia for diluting support towards the cause, Khan continued to be mum against China. Khan has been a vocal critic of the mistreatment of Muslims globally, but has been silent on the Chinese persecution of Uighurs.

Questioned about it by a reporter at the World Economic Forum in Davos, last month, Khan first claimed to not “know much about” the scale of the abuse.

But after being cornered by a reporter in Davos, Khan acknowledged that Pakistan’s special relationship with China played a part in his response to the Uighur crisis. “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.”

The Chinese government has been accused of waging a mass crackdown on millions of Uighurs, by imprisoning them in detention centers in Xinjiang — where they are allegedly beaten, deprived of food and subjected to medical experiments — and promoting “mass rape” in the name of ethnic unity. China has denied reports of abuse at what the government calls “reeducation camps” and decried its Western critics.

Khan failing to garner Saudi Arabia and UAE support for his “narrative” on Kashmir visited Malaysia to seeking PM Mahathir Mohammad’s backing. In his address on Tuesday evening at a Malaysian think-tank session on regional peace and security Khan regretted that OIC could not come up with one voice against blatant human rights violations in India-held Kashmir.

While he named neither Saudi Arabia nor UAE it was evident that the Pak PM was targeting the leaders of OIC. “The reason is that we have no voice and there is a total division amongst [us]. We can’t even come together as a whole on the OIC summit meeting on Kashmir,” Khan said.

Expectedly he did not criticise China for state of Uyghurs. “The only solution is that Muslims must come together on something like what is happening in Myanmar and Kashmir, when someone is only being persecuted because of their religion,” Khan claimed.

The Pak PM praised his Malaysian counterpart for taking an open stance on Kashmir despite threats by India to cut off import of palm oil. “A leader always has a belief system and an ideology, and that’s why we love and respect Mahathir,” he said.

Pakistan also decided to compensate for India’s decision to stop palm oil imports. “I think Pakistan is quite ready to import more palm oil from Malaysia,” said the Malaysian prime minister in a joint presser with Khan on Tuesday in Kuala Lumpur. “That’s right, especially since we noticed that India threatened to cut Malaysia’s palm oil imports for supporting the Kashmir cause, Pakistan will do its best to compensate for that,” Khan assured.

The Malaysian PM hoping to emerge as a leader of the Islamic World has been a vocal critic of India’s moves on Kashmir and CAA. Imran also requires Malaysian support to deter against FATF blacklisting.

In another indirect jibe against Saudi Khan expressed his regret on being unable to attend the Kuala Lumpur Summit, held last year, pointing out that there was a misconception among some countries that the conference would divide the Ummah. At the time, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had confirmed that Riyadh and the UAE had concerns about the summit which incidentally was brainchild of Imran.

Khan while travelling to Malaysia did not use Indian airspace despite India not closing its airspace for Pak leaders. Pakistan on the contrary continues to refuse its airspace to top Indian leaders.

By: ET