File photo: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. Photograph:( Reuters )
Pakistani Prime Minister was asked about his silence on the matter of the persecution of the Muslim communities in Xinjiang and China. His response, though concise, conveyed a harsher, narrow-minded message.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan landed in office in the year 2018 after riding a populist wave, and his tenure has been marked with the rise of Islamic extremism, a tumultuous economy, clashes with neighbouring India, among other things.
In an interview with Foreign Policy at the World Economic Forum in Davos, the Pakistani Prime Minister was asked about his silence on the matter of the persecution of the Muslim communities in Xinjiang and China. His response, though concise, conveyed a harsher, narrow-minded message.
One of the two principal reasons the Prime Minister gave was that the events in China and Kashmir are happening on very different scales and cannot be compared. He justified this by stating that he does not know much about it and occasionally reads articles about it. The interviewer stated that around 1 million to 2 million people were being detained in Xinjiang and that it was not a minuscule matter.
Khan explained that Kashmir has 8 million people who are living under siege and have been doing so for months. These incidents made Kashmir a much larger and more serious matter than the detention of Chinese Muslims in Xinjiang, according to the Pakistani Prime Minister.
Khan went on, briefly mentioning the Uighurs and changing gears. He stated that China has been a helpful ally to Pakistan when the latter hit rock bottom, they are grateful to the Chinese government and their issues with China will be dealt with privately.
The interviewer stated that the United States and other nations have warned that China may be luring Pakistan into a debt trap the way it did with Sri Lanka and others. He went on to ask the Prime Minister about contingencies that he had to avoid ending up in such a situation.