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Pakistan Does Not Share West’s Concerns over Uighurs: NSA

by Newsweek Pakistan

National Security Adviser Moeed Yusuf. Photo courtesy Islamabad Policy Research Institute

Moeed Yusuf claims to BBC that China has economic, not military bases in Pakistan

Pakistan does not accept the West’s version of the alleged atrocities committed by China against Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang, National Security Adviser Moeed Yusuf said on Wednesday.

“We have relations of trust with China and our ambassador and other delegations from here also visited the Xinjiang province,” he claimed in an interview with journalist Stephen Sackur for BBC’s Hard Talk. Western nations should engage with China directly if they have questions over its human rights record, he added in response to a question by Sackur on whether Pakistan had nurtured close ties with China at the cost of raising its voice for Muslims in Xinjiang.

He said China is a great friend of Pakistan and relations between the two states continue to strengthen.

To a question, he said that Pakistan had not offered any military bases to China in Gwadar, Balochistan, adding that Beijing had “economic bases” in Pakistan. “We are open to all countries,” he said, adding that any state would invest in Pakistan.

On Kashmir, the NSA said that Pakistan would continue to raise its voice for the oppressed residents of the disputed region, as part of their territory was in Pakistan and not a third country. He also emphasized the plight of the people of Afghanistan, warning the country was headed toward disaster if the global community did not provide it with humanitarian aid.

“If there is a government of people who fought against America and other western countries, there are also 35 to 40 million people who have nothing to do with it,” he said, adding that millions in Afghanistan needed to be fed. “There is huge pledged money which cannot get into Afghanistan. There are 19 channels, including the United Nations, which cannot function. How can people there be fed then?” he added.

He said that if the situation continued to deteriorate, Pakistan could soon face a new refugee surge. Additionally, he warned, it could lead to international terrorist organizations once again securing a foothold in Afghanistan.

Yusuf said Pakistan should not be blamed for the failure of Western countries in Afghanistan, reiterating that Islamabad had consistently maintained that there was no military solution to the Afghan conflict. He claimed that Pakistan’s efforts to foster peace through the Doha peace process had been recognized by the global community, including the U.S. and the U.K.

To questions on Pakistan’s ties with the U.S., the NSA said that both states continued to have positive bilateral dialogue, but admitted that mistrust over the Afghanistan situation remained.

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