Pakistan accepts China's version on Xinjiang's Uighurs, finds merit in its 'alternative model': PM Imran Khan
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has said his country accepted Beijing's version regarding the treatment of Uighur Muslims in China's Xinjiang province.
Speaking to Chinese journalists on Thursday as Beijing marked the centenary of the ruling Communist Party of China, Imran Khan said the Chinese version of the events in Xinjiang was completely different from what was being reported in the western media.
"Because of our extreme proximity and relationship with China, we actually accept the Chinese version."
Uighur Muslim representatives have been complaining of atrocities - which have been dubbed "genocide" - and ethnic cleansing, committed by the Chinese Army and other security forces in Xinjiang. China has come for severe criticism internationally, particularly in the western media, on the issue.
Imran Khan said it was hypocritical that while the Uighur situation and Hong Kong were being highlighted, attention was not being given to the human rights violations in India’s Jammu and Kashmir, leading Pakistani media outlet Dawn reported.
During his media talk, the prime minister also praised the Communist Party of China (CPC) for its unique model, calling it an alternative to Western democracy.
"The CPC has introduced an alternative model and they have beaten all Western democracies in the way they have highlighted merit in society," he said.
"Until now, the feeling was that electoral democracy is the best way to bring leaders on merit and hold them accountable.
"But the CPC has achieved much better [outcomes] without democracy. Their system for sifting through talent and bringing it up is better than the democratic system," he said.
PM Imran Khan also praised the "flexibility" of the system. "In our society and Western democracies, it is difficult to bring change as you are bound by rules and regulations," he said, lamenting that democracies only plan for "the next five years".
He said leaders like Chinese President Xi Jinping worked their way up from the lowest rung.
"One can only become a leader after going through a long struggle. This process is not present in western democracies. An American president doesn't go through this rigorous process."
He said when leaders like Xi reach the top, they can completely understand the system, a trait that is "unique to China".
Khan also highlighted Pakistan's strong ties with China.
"Whenever Pakistan has been in trouble, politically or internationally, China has always stood with us," he said.
Criticizing the US-led Quad - with India, Australia and Japan as its other members – Khan said it was “unfair” of the US and western powers to expect countries like Pakistan to take sides. Pakistan will not downgrade its relations with China, he stated.
He added that the idea that India was supposed to act as a counterbalance to China would be "detrimental" for the former.
"China is too strong. India will reap far greater benefits by engaging in trade with China rather than trying to act as a counterbalance. If anyone is going to lose out, it will be India."
He stated Pakistan's relationship with China had nothing to do with India. "Our relationship is a bilateral relationship. It is extremely strong."
Referring to economic ties with China, Imran Khan praised the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and said he was also looking forward to his trip to China which is in the offing.
"The next phase of CPEC is very exciting for Pakistan. We plan to attract Chinese investment for special economic zones as our labor is cheaper."
He said Pakistan can learn a lot from China when it comes to agriculture. "China's agricultural productivity is much higher, and I hope we can benefit from the latest techniques and technology."