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ISLAMABAD: While emphasizing that the US is losing power internationally due to its imperialist approach, Federal Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari said on Thursday that Muslims suffered the consequences of the US war on terror and of militarization.

Speaking at a webinar organised by a local think tank on the New Cold War and playing of Xinjiang card against China under its flagship event series: “Friends of Silk Road (FOSR)”, she accused the US of following double standards.

“The US was involved in starting a New Cold War with China by playing the Xinjiang Card in the midst of Covid-19 pandemic but its mysterious silence on Kashmir and Palestine issues shows its double standards,” she declared.

She continued that the US was trying to militarise global politics as well as economics, whereas, China strives to share economic prosperity and open up the world through trade routes and infrastructure in Pakistan and African countries, so that all countries can prosper via international trade.

“The rational route is to support the opening up of the world through international trade via the Silk Route, BRI and CPEC project,” she added. She said that Pakistan faces a challenge of whether it will move towards economic prosperity, which is now a central norm of Pakistan’s National Security policy, or it will be sucked into the militarization being pushed by US.

Mazari asserted that US has created laws, such as the Uyghur Forced Labour Prevention Act, to sanction China using the Xinjiang card. Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed said that Pakistan will continue to support China on its core national interests such as Xinjiang, Taiwan, Tibet, Hong Kong, South China Sea, and BRI as the US is engaged in creating cleavages, conflict and encouraging confrontation.

He said that political and economic power in the world was shifting from the West to the East and the US has not been able to compete with China economically. Despite their opposition to the Belt and Road Initiative, he added, the US launched its own copycat project, Built Back Better World.

He cited an article by Leslie H Gelb in The New York Times titled “Breaking China Apart”, which stated that the US will “kindle separatism in China” if it does not fall in line and discussed the approach of demonising, damaging and destabilising countries.

The special assistant to the prime minister on religious affairs, Dr Tahir Ashrafi, said that bills or statements made by the US regarding lack of religious freedom in Pakistan, China, and Saudi Arabia were baseless, saying the statements were politically motivated.

He stressed that the US should avoid interfering in the internal affairs of other countries and avoid needlessly criticising China on Xinjiang. Emphasising that the US should focus on human rights violations in its own country, he said that the US should rely on facts and engage in dialogue instead of using a narrative of a lack of religious freedom as a political weapon.

“The stance of the Pakistani people, government, and religious parties regarding China is that it is Pakistan’s best friend and neighbour, irrespective of American propaganda,” he maintained.

Dr Akram stated that issue of Xinjiang is a flashpoint, which is used by Western groups to rally certain parts of the Muslim world against China. Emphasising that Pakistan was in a twilight zone between US and China, Akram advised the government to support China in its quest for truth, of protecting its interests and in protecting the region.

Prof Li Xiguang, director of the Centre for Pakistan Cultural and Communication at Tsinghua University said that the West fears the unity between the Confucian and Islamic Civilisations.

He said that the West’s purpose to play the ‘Xinjiang card’ was to divide and undermine China and create misunderstandings between China and neighbouring Muslim countries, as well as those along the Belt and Road.

While stressing that China respects the culture and religion of the Afghan people, unlike the US, which despite failing in the battlefield does not want to see unity among Afghans, he said that the West wants to turn Xinjiang into another Afghanistan. Dr Ejaz Akram, chairman Rehmatu Lil Alameen Authority, and others also spoke on the occasion.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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