Once again, the world witnessed a war between Israel and Palestine, a war that ended after eleven days of destruction and blame games. This article will not explore how the war escalated between Israel and Palestine or how it ended. We all know about it because of the coverage the issue has gained globally.
I am specifically focusing on Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s interview with CNN and Pakistan’s duality on the advocacy of Human rights.
The interview was aired on Thursday the 20th of May 2021. It was criticised largely on social media, as the Pakistani foreign minister used an antisemitic slur. The fact of the matter is Mr Qureshi’s antisemitism was not unexpected for me because he belongs to a country where almost every second wall chalking says, “Death to Israel and Jews”.
A country where every day an Imam preaches that “killing a Jew will get you a ticket to heavens.” A country where every Friday after the Jumma prayer millions gather and pray for the destruction of the rest of humanity but Muslims. A country where politicians abuse Israel in their pre-election rallies to attract more voters towards their party.
Since Mr Qureshi’s remarks and how the CNN host Bianna Golodryga held him accountable was the only topic on my Twitter timeline, I was pushed to watch that interview. As I am not an expert on antisemitic remarks; but these remarks were nothing compared to what I have mentioned above or heard while growing up in the streets of Pakistan.
I believe the interview became more interesting when Bianna Golodryga asked the question regarding the issue of Uyghur Muslims in china quoting Uyghur calling the situation “Genocide” and asked, “we are wondering why we are not hearing the same from your (Pakistani) government?”
In response to that question, Shah Mehmood Qureshi simply tried to hide the Chinese genocidal policies on Uyghur Muslims by saying that “China is a very good friend of Pakistan and China stood by us through thick and thin … We do not discuss everything in public.” Bianna further asks FM of Pakistan “China being a friend aside providing a lot of aid but still you cannot turn a blind eye to human rights issues in one country … is there something happening behind the scenes?”
Shah Mehmood once again replied with a mouthful of lies by saying “there are always ways of doing things and we are not oblivious of our responsibilities.” As the journalist continued asking “So what needs to be done then to the Uyghur community around the world listening to you … question about their same legitimacy to human rights as well.”
FM Qureshi simply disregards the genocide of the Uyghur community and emphasised that we are advocating for the human rights crisis in “Kashmir and Gaza”. Instead of answering the question, he played old dirty tricks of pointing fingers towards India (in which Pakistani politicians are masters). Pakistan’s Foreign Minister was simply not able to answer any of the questions raised regarding the treatment of the Uyghur Muslim community in China.
This interview reminded me of another interview that aired on Al Jazeera in December 2019. In that interview, the former host of Upfront Mehdi Hassan asked Pakistani Human rights minister Shireen Mazari about the treatment of Uyghur Muslims and why the Pakistani state is silent over the issue. She simply ignores the genocide of Uyghur by stating that “they are not going to scream on the street against China because China is an ally of Pakistan.” Instead, she starts questioning the host of the show why he is not asking her about the persecution of Muslims in Europe where women “cannot even wear the clothes they want.”
Mehdi Hassan responds “why should you be asked about an issue which you have been already speaking on. You have talked about Palestine but not a single word can be seen on your Twitter timeline about Uyghur.”
The above-mentioned examples are evident enough to expose Pakistan’s hypocrisy on Human rights. How can one advocate for the human rights of a particular community, while ignoring other communities which are facing similar sorts of Human rights violations?
Pakistan is not only disregarding the human rights violations of Uyghur Muslims but also has the worst record of human rights violations in Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh. Pakistani forces have been accused of abducting political activists and leaders from Balochistan, Sindh and KPK. Pakistan’s own hands are dirty and stained by the blood of innocent civilians and dissent.
Alone in January 2021, Pakistani army personnel allegedly raped three female members of a Baloch shepherd Hakim Baloch, in the Jako area of Mashkay, Balochistan. Because of the media blackout in Balochistan, no one was aware of that incident until May 08th when the news broke on social media.
Many such incidents have taken place under the government of Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Shireen Mazari where Pakistani forces indiscriminately target Baloch civilian populations. On one hand, Pakistani politicians both in government or opposition claim to be the champions of Human rights and freedom for Kashmir and Palestine. On the other hand, they are silently ignoring the genocide of Baloch, Sindhi and Pashtun people.
Besides, these politicians are shamelessly terming the struggles of indigenous people for their freedom and rights from Pakistan as terrorists and part of an international conspiracy against Islam and Pakistan.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The Balochistan Post or any of its editors.