Some tightrope walking for China

By K.N. Pandita

The Western bloc had given sufficient indications that it would not take China’s brow-beating for granted. Hindsight shows that China has overplayed its veto card and has given rise to circumstances where the chances of its isolation in the international community can no more be stonewalled.

After using the veto power thrice in rejecting the resolution that would authorize the UN Security Council to declare Mas’ud Azhar an international terrorist and would also mean banning his organization, it became clear to the world community that there must be compelling reasons for China to put at stake its diplomatic assets and go against the opinion of the thirteen members of the Security Council not once but thrice and for flimsy reasons. In the 1267 session of the Security Council China pontificated that designating Azhar was a sensitive issue and that she needed more time to go into its nitty-gritty and therefore the “technical flaw” was made the pretext for deferring a decision on the issue. UN experts opine that there is nothing law a technical flaw provision in the procedures related to designating a person as an international terrorist. China only wanted to drag on the SC decision on the issue for another nine months.

It is now an established truth that there is an understanding between Beijing and the terrorist groups in Pakistan, the Jaish and Lashkar in particular, as a consequence of which Pakistan-based terrorist groups and organizations will not admit or train Uighur Sunni Muslim dissidents of the western province of China known as Xinjiang but traditionally called Eastern Turkestan. It has to be reminded that about a decade ago, Chinese authorities apprehended some people who were Pakistani citizens and had been engaged in propagating separation among the Uighurs from China and establishing independent State of Eastern Turkistan. China is reported to have executed some of them and in the follow-up action engaged the leaders of Pakistan-based terrorist organization including the Jaish. Of course, the deal would not materialize without the nod from the ISI and the Pakistan army.

Nearly two crore Uighurs of Sunni Muslim sect in Xinjiang province have been involved in a nearly four-decade-old struggle of liberating their community and land from the control of atheist Hun domination. They have been knocking at the door of the world fraternity demanding that their right to freedom of worship and perpetuation of culture should be protected. The Uighur youth have been actively protesting before the UN Human Rights Commission and at many political fora throughout the western world and now the world has understood what the travails of the Uighurs are. They have almost become a threatened people.

From authentic sources, we are informed that the Muslim Uighurs of Xinjiang are not allowed any religious freedom like keeping fast in Ramadhan, offering congregational prayers on Fridays, teaching Islamic history as part of the school curricula or even freedom in the usage of dress code and lifestyle leaves side the promulgation of sharia law in the country. Not only that, there have been calculated attempts to change the demographic complexion of Xinjiang and the Huns are brought from other parts of China and resettled massively in Xinjiang. The Huns are controlling the administrative system of the so-called autonomous Xinjiang and they are freely recruited in the police cadres to the detriment of the Uighurs. Discrimination against them is rampant and the restrictions enforced with iron hand have, at many times, led to the outbreak of insurgency among the Uighur youth. Many cases of loot, arson and killing have been reported because the entire society has been criminalized.

The question is that knowing the plight of the Uighurs, why does not Pakistan raise the issue on international platforms. Pakistan induces the OIC to pass resolutions year after year on alleged “atrocities of Indian forces” on the Muslims of Kashmir but Pakistan has never raised the issue of Uighurs in any session of the OIC. Why does Pakistan employ the double standard in dealing with the Muslim community? Is the Islam of the Uighur Sunni Muslims different from the Islam of Pakistani Sunni Muslims that they do not deserve to be done justice?

The simple reason is that Pakistan would not like to displease China for political reasons. This is ample proof that Pakistan’s loud cry for the “oppressed Muslims of Kashmir” is nothing but a political stunt to embarrass India and not any urgency of serving the interest of Islam. China would like to see that nothing is done to displease Pakistan which perhaps is the only state in the world that is an ally of China.

Three members of the SC namely the US, UK and France have tabled a motion in the Security Council to open the issue of designating Azhar for public debate. It is a mechanism with the SC to bring pressure on a recalcitrant member state when an issue of extraordinary significance to the entire international community comes up. The SC is likely to take up the draft resolution in April and contrary to the usual practice, it will be an open session with members entitled to free debate on the resolution. Since China, one of the permanent members of the Security Council has the right to veto, she will again bring a veto against the joint resolution and see to it that the resolution is not carried through. But the significance of the open debate is that the world will come to know that China –– a permanent member of the SC — is the one country that is not interested in fighting terrorism side by side the world community. This will expose China to the hilt and the world will have the right reading of Chinese policy. The result of the forthcoming public debate is already known to us when thirteen members of the 14-member group of SC wanted that Azhar is designated but China opposed. This public debate will greatly harm the image of China as a world power and can have an adverse impact on China’s trade relations with the global countries.

India, naturally, has a special interest in the Azhar case. It is Jaish, the terrorist organization of Azhar that had masterminded the Mumbai attack of 2008. It is Azhar, the chief of Jaish who had master-minded the Pathankot attack, and it is the Jaish led by Azhar that masterminded the Pulwama suicide attack resulting in the martyrdom of 44 policemen of CRP. India provided the US and the friendly western countries a full dossier containing undeniable evidence of the involvement of Jaish in Pulwama suicide bombing. Within hours of Pulwama massacre, the Jaish officially declared that it owed the responsibility of the attack. Neither the Jaish headquarters nor the Pakistan official circles repudiated the claim of the Kashmir branch of the Jaish that the attack was engineered by them. What more proof was needed? Certainly, China is now doing tight rope walking and much of the western policy towards China will depend on the outcome of the debate on the resolution demanding designation of Mas’ud Azhar, the mastermind behind the Mumbai, Pathankot and Pulwama attacks.

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