Why only express concern for Muslims in Kashmir and not for those in China, US asks Pakistan

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The United States on Thursday asked why Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan was not expressing concern about China, which has detained an estimated one million Uighurs and other Turkic-speaking Muslims. Khan has repeatedly brought up alleged rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir.

Alice Wells, US acting assistant secretary for the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, when asked about Khan’s comments on Kashmir said: “A lowering of rhetoric would be welcome, especially between two nuclear powers.”

“…I would like to see the same level of concern expressed also about Muslims who are being detained in Western China, literally in concentration-like conditions,” Wells added. “And so being concerned about the human rights of Muslims does extend more broadly than Kashmir, and you’ve seen the administration very involved here during the UN General Assembly and trying to shine a light on the horrific conditions that continue to exist for Muslims throughout China.”

China is a major diplomatic and economic partner of Pakistan.

On Monday, Khan had declined to comment about the Uighurs at a think tank, and said Pakistan had a “special relationship” with China and would only raise those matters in private, AFP reported.

According to United Nations, at least 1 million ethnic Uighurs and other Muslims have been detained to forcibly stop Islamic traditions and integrate Uighurs into the majority Han population. However, China claims it is providing vocational training and discouraging extremism.

On Wednesday, United States led more than 30 countries in condemning China’s “horrific campaign of repression” against Muslims. “History will judge the international community for how we respond to this attack on human rights and fundamental freedoms,” Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan was quoted as saying by Reuters.