If ignorance is blissful, feigned ignorance is beneficial—even if it is unconscionable. The way China treats the Uighurs is just that—unconscionable—as also its vassal state Pakistan’s attitude towards the unspeakable atrocities the Uighurs are subjected to. In fact, Pakistan has “absolutely zero concerns” about Uighur Muslims.
In an interview to Karan Thapar for The Wire, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s advisor on national security and strategic policy planning Moeed Yusuf flatly denied of any atrocities against the Uighurs. “I’ll quote Imran Khan to you,” Thapar said, “this is what he said to the British paper The Financial Times last year, I’m quoting him, ‘Frankly, I don’t know much about it. If I had enough knowledge about it, I would comment but I don’t.’ In other words, ignorance, he says—he admits—is preventing him from commenting. You’re there, you’re his national security advisor, in effect, why don’t you fill his ears with the truth? Why don’t you tell him what’s happening so he can speak?”
If Khan is admittedly ignorant, his adviser feign ignorance. Yusuf said, “Even our delegations have visited, we have seen, and we are a 100 per cent satisfied that it’s a non-issue. The West can say what it wants. I am telling you as a responsible official, we know everything we need to know about the Uighurs and everything else in China as they do about us. We have zero concerns, absolutely zero concerns.”
Notice the certitude: Yusuf is “100 per cent satisfied” that all criticism of China over the inhuman treatment of its Uighur minority is just Western propaganda. Pakistanis “know everything” that they “need to know about the Uighurs.”
Yusuf is lying through his teeth. Recently, German Ambassador Christoph Heusgen, on behalf of 39 countries, presented a statement to the UN, exhorting China to “respect human rights, particularly the rights of persons belonging to religious and ethnic minorities, especially in Xinjiang and Tibet.”
Most of these were Western nations but the list also included Bosnia and Herzegovina, half of whose population is Muslim, and Japan, an Asian country. Clearly, it is not only the West that accuses China of human rights abuse in Xinjiang.
And it is not just the Western media that slams Beijing for oppressing the Uighurs. Mansur Mirovalev wrote on the website of Al Jazeera on February 24 about the reluctance of Central Asian governments to lambast or even address China’s persecution of Uighurs and other Muslim minorities is all about Beijing’s investments. Mirovalev quoted Arslan Hidaya, a 32-year-old ethnic Uighur activist, as saying, “For [these governments], all of this is a matter of economics.”
Hidayat’s father-in-law spent almost a year in a “reeducation camp,” a euphemism for a concentration camp, the Al Jazeera website said.
There is a mountain of evidence and a zillion reports—freely accessibly on the internet—proving that Uighurs are facing an existential crisis. Their civil and human rights have been annulled by the ruthless Chinese; they have been subjected to most brutal forms of repression; their religion, Islam, is being banished; their mosques and other places of reverence are bring razed; over a million adults have been imprisoned, and are being indoctrinated, in the name of re-education.
Yet, Yusuf has “zero concerns” about Uighurs. Seldom was mendacity so brazen—and evident.