Op-ed: Pakistan should raise voice for oppressed people everywhere

The point is not that Kashmiris are not being imprisoned, it's that others besides them are being imprisoned too, writes Juan Abbas.

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Silence ensures a safe journey to the top. Though the silence does do the talking, you can never surely tell one’s viewpoint. Like if an incident occurs in the country or even abroad, the leader will assess the situation and speak. However, if the speaking is what gets him or her into controversial trouble, silence is a reliable source.

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In Pakistan, there is an apparent 3-way race for the office of the Prime Minister, which as a policy is absolutely ridiculous. Each party is hostile to the other, making sure they get their own seats and do “what is good for the people”, without asking the people themselves. At the end of the day, the people are the ones who can be shut down or distracted, they can open their eyes but doing something is arguably difficult.

Pakistan’s silence not an option

The silence on Uighurs can cost Pakistan greatly for its security and its reliability on “Muslim rights”. While terror and killings are going on in Kashmir, there is no aspect of safety to the prisoners in China’s western province. But, the power to stay silent might even backfire and this balance between the US and China will surely not last long.

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Is it because of the understanding we have with them? Or perhaps it is to have an opposing stance to our eastern neighbor. Whatever the case may be, silence is not an option. “The 2019 Report on International Religious Freedom: China – Xinjiang” by the Office of International Religious Freedom outlined the cruel behavior towards the so-called extremist Muslims. It summarized:

“The U.S. government estimated the People’s Republic of China (PRC) government detained more than one million Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs, Hui, and members of other Muslim groups, as well as some Uighur Christians, in specially built internment camps or converted detention facilities in Xinjiang”.

It further went on to say:

“In May Voice of America reported that Zhao Lijian, deputy chief of mission of the Chinese embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, said Beijing had put partial restrictions on Ramadan activities, but fasting was not totally banned.”

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In Pakistan, there are no 2 isles of the government. There are at least 20, each party going against one another, trying to show they care most about the people and their rights.

Some may also be surprised to know that the U.S. and many other countries do not like the Chinese government because they travel around the pacific, thinking that every island they set sight on is their property.

PM Khan had said that he didn’t “know much about” the scale of Uighur mistreatment and that “They came to help us when we were at rock bottom, and so we are really grateful to the Chinese government.” Now, I do support Imran Khan’s policies but they’re a bit off from where they need to be.

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He is one of the most well-informed people on the planet and the idea that he doesn’t know what’s happening with those Muslims does not seem entirely true. But other than that, he is the leader of Pakistan, a country where most of the population is Muslim.

On Honk Kong protests, the Prime Minister criticized the international media in 2019 on Twitter:

“I am puzzled as to how international media continues to give headline coverage to Hongkong protests but ignores the dire human rights crisis in IOJK – an internationally recognized disputed territory illegally annexed by India with 900k troops imposing a siege on 8mn Kashmiris ”

Well, as a matter of fact, 7.4 million people live in Hong Kong and not being able to protest in a first-world country is going to get the headlines.

The point is not that Kashmiris are not being imprisoned, it’s that others besides them are being imprisoned too

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Some may also be surprised to know that the US and many other countries do not like the Chinese government because they travel around the Pacific, thinking that every island they set sight on is their property. China further ensures that any place that tries to separate itself from China should be held accountable.

Now, I agree that China should not be dragged into everything as it is others’ fault for glorifying such violence as well. The point is not that Kashmiris are not being imprisoned, it’s that others besides them are being imprisoned too. So it is time for us to break our silence.

Juan Abbas is a freelance writer for the Daily Times. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.


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