Pak’s interest in Kashmir is selfish

Comments Off on Pak’s interest in Kashmir is selfish

Originally published by Daily Excelsior on August 29, 2018

Harsha Kakar

The latest news from China is its moving large numbers of Uyghur Moslems from the Xinjiang province into re-education centres. The matter was even discussed in the UN committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination. In this hearing the Germany based World Uyghur Congress (WUC) stated that they estimated over one million Uyghurs being held in China in political indoctrination camps.

Xinjiang is China’s largest administrative region and most of its population was Uyghur Muslims. By 2000, China had changed the demography and 40% of the population comprised of Han Chinese brought into the region alongside a large military presence to subdue the Uyghur population.
Large scale riots took place in Xinjiang in 2009, leading to over 200 hundred dead. It has since been cracking down on Uyghurs and sought to change their views by force.Over a period, China began curtailing Uyghur cultural activities, imposing restrictions on religion, preventing construction of mosques and establishing strict control over religious schools. In 2014, the local government banned Moslem civil servants from fasting during Ramzan. In recent orders, Moslem children are banned from attending Quran classes during winter breaks.

China Human Rights Defenders, a Hong Kong based NGO monitoring human rights violations in China stated that the ‘body of evidence of arbitrary detention, torture and ill-treatment is overwhelming’. China responded to the recent press reports of political indoctrination camps of Uyghurs by claiming them as false. It stated that those involved in minor crimes have been assigned to ‘vocational education and employment training centres with a view to assisting in their rehabilitation’.

The Global Times Chinese newspaper stated, post the UN hearing, that China’s campaign of pressure against Uyghur Muslim population has prevented Xinjiang from becoming China’s ‘Syria’ or ‘Libya’. It added that intense regulations in the region were merely ‘a phase that Xinjiang has to go through in rebuilding peace and prosperity’.

Pictures and videos have emerged of Uyghur men surrounding a Mosque which Chinese authorities had come to demolish. The demolition has been stalled for now but would be done. Reports claim that the Chinese government is angered by the shape of domes of the Mosque, however officially claim that the Mosque was being constructed without permission.

This year Pak nationals belonging to Gilgit Baltistan married to Uyghur women, on returning to Xinjiang in July, found that the local Chinese women they had married, were arrested on suspicion of having links to extremists and sent to indoctrination camps. They searched across the region, requested local authorities but were unable to meet their wives or children. They ultimately protested in Pak and even complained to the Chinese embassy, but to no avail.

The Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC), claiming to be a mouth-piece for the Islamic world criticizes India for its handling of Kashmir at every meeting. It passes a resolution against Indian “so-called” atrocities in Kashmir. Other nations close to Pak sing the same tune, targeting India, which has ensured that its forces fight militancy with their hands tied behind their backs. Their regular claim is Indian ‘highhandedness in Kashmir’.

The UN Human Rights Council slammed India for “so-called” human rights abuses in Kashmir. Its High Commissioner even wrote an article in the Indian Express justifying his anti-India report. It is easy to slam India, because fake data had been fed by Pak and its allies.

Israel has always been an easy target for the OIC, as it appears to be the permanent enemy of the Moslem world. Every action of it is criticized. It walked out of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC)in frustration solely because it was perpetually targeted. Angered by the anti-Israel bias in the UNHRC eventhe US has walked out of the same.

Where is the UN HRC Commissioner now? Chinese actions have been ongoing for some time, but again, China was not charged because there was no anti-China Moslem nation to feed fake information to ZeidRa’ad Al Hussein, the UN HRC Commissioner. The subjugation of Tibetans earlier and Uyghurs now has been largely ignored, only because these residents do not have international supporters, as any nation challenging China would face its economic wrath.

The OICclaiming to represent the Moslem humanity across the globe and professing to be the voice aiming to safeguard their interests has not uttered a word. Pak, whose nationals found their wives missing in Xinjiang has neither raised the subject with China nor protested its demolition of Mosques nor arrest of its Moslem population.It has maintained a studied silence. On the contrary it raised hell on Babri Masjid and continues to do so regularly.

Most major OIC nations, including Pakistan, are deeply indebted to China economically. They are afraid to criticize Chinese actions against Moslems fearing an economic backlash. They are aware that China can damagetheirfragile economy overnight. Hence, neither the OIC nor its grand leadership or its prominent members have yet to utter a word in criticism.

For Kashmiri’s believing that Pak is supporting their cause due religious affinity, this should come as an eyeopener. Pak is not supporting Kashmir for religious purposes, for if it had, China would have been in its cross wires for locking millions of Muslims away. It is not supporting Kashmir on ethnicity with POK residents, for if that was the reason, then it should have objected to China for the disappearance of women married to residents of Gilgit Baltistan. It is supporting only because it desires their resources. It would ignore Kashmiris once it gets the resources it seeks.

International criticism boils down to a single factor, economic benefits. Religion be damned and religious minorities can be subdued so long it does not impact the nation directly. If the UN HRCand the OIC can be selective in their criticism, then India is justified in terming their report and criticism a farce, fake and biased. Kashmiri’s should also now comprehend true Pak intentions.

(The author is former Major General in Indian Army)

Back to Top