Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s frustration surfaced on Tuesday (4 February) as despite his multiple attempts, the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) has not taken up the issue of Kashmir, reports Economic Times.
However, his continued silence on the plight of Uighurs in China raises more than a few eyebrows.
Saudi Arabia is the leader of OIC and Khan’s outburst was an indirect attempt to chide the nation for diluting support towards the cause of Kashmir. Khan has a history of pontificating the mistreatment of Muslims globally and is the self-proclaimed torch bearer against Islamophobia.
But when it comes to the Chinese persecution of Uighurs he had feigned ignorance and at the World Economic Forum in Davos, that was held last month, Khan first claimed to “not know much about" the scale of the abuse.
When probed further, Khan replied that China was Pakistan’s great friend and has helped his country during its most difficult times. It should be noted that Pakistan is currently going through its worst economic crisis. Khan was very clear that, any disagreement they have with China is always discussed ‘privately’, not publicly, as these are sensitive issues.
"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 is forcing Muslim Women, whose husbands are in Chinese detention/concentration camps, to sleep with Chinese officials who are there to monitor them.
Reportedly, China has deployed more than a million spies – most of them male and belonging to country’s Han ethnic majority – to stay in Uighur households every two months as part of what it calls the “Pair Up and Become Family” programme.
In the detention centres in Xinjiang, Uighurs are allegedly beaten, deprived of food and subjected to medical experiments in the name of ethnic unity. China vehemently has denied reports of abuse and calls such detention centres "re-education camps."
On his Malaysian visit, Khan was hoping that Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who voiced strong objections to abrogation of article 370 and had also raised Kashmir at the UN, would say something. However, Mahathir refrained from raising the Kashmir issue during a bilateral press-conference with Khan.
The silence was due to India aggressively imposing restrictions on Malaysian palm oil import. The Indian government’s decision to curb palm oil imports had sent benchmark Malaysian palm futures to their worst weekly fall in more than 11 years in January as India has been the largest market for the Malaysian palm oil exporters for last five years.
Khan does not possess the courage to directly name Saudi Arabia or UAE as nearly 15 billion dollars in remittance is sent to Pakistan from Gulf nations annually. That is why he indirectly targeted the leaders of OIC when he said, “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.”
He further added, “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.
To show solidarity with Malaysia and mitigate the loss it has incurred after curbs on palm oil import by India, Pakistan has decided to compensate by increasing the palm oil imports. Pakistan bought 1.1 million tonnes of palm oil from Malaysia in 2019 compared to 4.4 million tonnes by India.
But this compensation in the name of religious solidarity would invariably result in artificially created over-supply conditions which will invariably bring down the prices and hurt the already beleaguered economy.
The Malaysian PM is hoping to emerge as a leader of the Islamic World as he emulated to create an Islamic block “aimed at rivaling the OIC.” However, Saudi Arabia termed this move counterproductive and forced Pakistan to skip the rival Islamic summit. They also added that such gatherings would divide Muslim Ummah.
Khan on his two day visit to Malaysia was also trying to mend his relationship with Kuala Lumpur and expressed regret on not being able to attend the Summit. It should be noted that, Pakistan requires Malaysian support to deter against FATF blacklisting.
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