Jan 23, 2022
Image by Adnan Khalid / Pixabay
The Chinese officials detained the Uyghur wives of Sikandar Hayat and Ghulam Durrani, both Pakistani nationals, during a visit to their homeland in East Turkistan (Uyghuristan), International Forum For Rights and Security reports.
Hayat’s son later traveled to support his mother and could not meet his father for two years. Durrani’s wife has remained in detention since 2017.
These two are not isolated cases of Chinese cross-border repression in Pakistan. Chinese authorities in 'Xinjiang' have added Pakistan among twenty-six blacklisted countries. The Chinese authorities automatically deem a person distrustful if he contacts someone or has family ties in these countries.
Pakistanis and Uyghurs have intermarried and conducted business for years since the opening of the trans-border Karakoram Highway joining Pakistan with China. The blacklisting of Pakistan has meant trouble for those Pakistanis who have ties to Uyghurs across the border.
Since then, many Uyghurs have been detained in Pakistan and charged with Islamic extremism. China has arbitrarily detained hundreds of Uyghur women in concentration camps solely for marriage to Pakistani men. Chinese authorities have reportedly arrested and interrogated roughly five hundred Uyghur women married to Pakistanis over their alleged extremist ideology and involvement in terrorism.
Transnational Repression of Uyghurs in Pakistan has continued since the early 90s. Till 2014, Pakistan Security Services deported or detained around sixty Uyghurs from Pakistan. After the Urumqi massacre, many Uyghurs tried to flee China for Turkey via Pakistan. On their way to Turkey, Pakistani authorities caught them and deported them back to China.
In one case, five innocent Uyghurs were arrested (2010) in Baluchistan and deported to China even though they had no links with any terror organizations.
Pakistan showed its horrific insensitivity when its security establishment deported fourteen Uyghur Islamic students to China, which accused them of being terrorists. Chinese officials executed all the students upon their arrival at their border.
Pakistani PM Imran Khan has never hesitated to criticize other countries for their alleged crimes against Muslims. However, he continues to ignore the Uyghur genocide. Amid the detention of more than one million Uyghurs by China, statements of Pakistani leadership reflect Pakistan's indifference to the Uyghurs' plight.