Pakistan Prime Minister Dismisses Uyghur Oppression
Pakistan Prime Minister Dismisses Uyghur Oppression
The prime minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, gave an interview to Axios’s Jonathan Swan that aired Sunday evening.
The takeaway from this interview is not going to end up stirring the West to think that Khan is anything but a hypocrite writ large, who sees Islamophobia everywhere until he is paid not to see it at all.
I did a bit of background reading on Imran Khan. He is 68 years old, was born into an “affluent Pashtun family,” and was able to be educated at schools in both Pakistan and the United Kingdom. He attended Oxford and played cricket for Pakistan’s national team. When he retired from cricket, Khan entered politics. He has been prime minister since 2018, after running on a platform of combating corruption in government, and poverty in the country.
Now, knowing all of this about his background is important for a couple of reasons. First, it explains his command of English. This interview with Swan does not use an interpreter, because Imran Khan is clearly comfortable with expressing himself in English. This is important because it means he knows exactly what he is saying during this interview, and he is saying it himself. There is nothing being misinterpreted here. Second, it explains his perspective on fighting poverty in Pakistan. In order to fight poverty, one has to stimulate the economy via investment. And who has been busy lending out money to make friends and secure influence? That would be China, through its “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI) that began several years ago. The point of the BRI was to resurrect the old “Silk Road” overland trade routes from China out to the Middle East and Europe. Pakistan has been a beneficiary of that BRI money and investment, though talks have stalled over China’s unwillingness to keep lending them more. However, Pakistan, according to the World Bank, is China’s single largest debtor, and is desperate to get more loans out of them. Keep this in mind as you read on.
During this interview, Jonathan Swan brought up an October 2020 letter that Imran Khan had sent out regarding Islamophobia, in the middle of criticizing France over their attempt to deal with Islamic extremism after the murder of a teacher who had been accused of showing his class images of Mohammed – a story which, we later learned through a confession by the student accusing the teacher, was completely made up. Al Jazeera framed it as Khan’s attempt to unify Islamic countries against Islamophobia.
My letter to leaders of Muslim states to act collectively to counter the growing Islamophobia in non-Muslim states esp Western states causing increasing concern amongst Muslims the world over. pic.twitter.com/OFuaKGu2c1
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) October 28, 2020
Swan then used this letter to springboard a question to Khan about the plight of Uyghur Muslims in China. Khan’s answer has to be listened to, in order to be believed.
Pressed by Axios’ Jonathan Swan about why he has been silent, Khan pointed to Beijing’s repeated denials of the crackdown in Xinjiang — denials that fly in the face of mountains of witness testimonials, satellite images of detention camps and other evidence.”
“Whatever issues we have with the Chinese, we speak to them behind closed doors. China has been one of the greatest friends to us in our most difficult times. When we were really struggling, our economy was struggling, China came to our rescue. So we respect the way they are,” Khan said.”
Asked if it makes him feel “sick” that he must be silent because of the money China has poured into Pakistan, Khan responded: “I look around the world what’s happening in Palestine, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Afghanistan. Am I going to start talking about everything? I concentrate on what is happening on my border, in my country.”
And then Swan roasted him with the interjection, “This is on your border!” Oops.
Khan kept reiterating that whatever China says, he will believe, because he’s been paid to do so and would like some more money, please. Meanwhile, Chinese state media will keep ducking and dodging and pointing fingers at the West, because they can.
Western countries think they have moral high ground to accuse #China of committing violation of #HumanRights, but what we see in the history of #US, #Canada, & #UK are American dream of genocide, aboriginal slaughter grounds, and Murderous colonial cradle. https://t.co/qpg6wgfKWJ pic.twitter.com/TGkxpXkja2
— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) June 20, 2021
And you know what? To a large extent, China has figured out the current zeitgeist in the United States – or at least, what they perceive in both government and media. They see a country currently rent by racial tensions, where the left is currently trying to convince everyone else that no social progress has been made whatsoever, that nothing has improved since slavery, or since Jim Crow, or whatever start date they fix on. So what if China then pushes actual genocide against Uyghur Muslims, or releases a virus on the rest of the world? China is simply looking at Western leadership, crippled with their own navel-gazing, saying “what are YOU gonna do about it?” Good question.
But we DO know what Pakistan will do about it. That Islamic “unity” that Imran Khan called for last October? Not for the Uyghurs. Not if it gets in the way of his goal of getting more money out of China. Remember the old joke about establishing what you are, and now we’re just haggling over the price? Well, we now know what Khan is, and he’s trying to set his price.
Featured image: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, official State Department photo from July 23, 2019, cropped, government work in the public domain