mandag 28. juni 2021

How Pakistan Is Helping China Crack Down on Uyghur Muslims

On May 7, in the hours after Friday prayers, textile and carpet merchant Abdul Wali was preparing to lock up his shop in Islamabad in preparation for the COVID-19 lockdown that had been imposed in the Pakistani capital. The deputy commissioner had announced that public transport would be suspended after 6 p.m., so Wali faced a race against time if he wanted to catch one of the last few buses heading north to spend Eid-ul-Fitr with his family like every year.

During the rush to wrap things up, Wali received a call informing him that his eldest brother had been abducted. “My brother’s wife hadn’t heard from him for quite a few days. She was informed by a few close friends of my brother that he had been kidnapped by local authorities,” Wali told The Diplomat.

Abdul Wali belongs to a Uyghur Muslim family originally hailing from Dabancheng district of Urumqi, the capital of China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. His father moved to Pakistan in the 1960s amidst China’s initiation of curbs on Uyghur culture and the locals’ practice of Islam. After doing a few small-time jobs he established an export business and married a Pakistani woman, Wali’s mother, a few years after moving to the country, eventually inviting some members of the extended family to move to Pakistan as well.