Source: The Guardian
BY Lily Kuo
Pakistan has asked China to soften restrictions on ethnic Muslims in Xinjiang, one of the first public criticisms from a majority Muslim country over China’s policies in the western territory.
Xinjiang, home to 12 million Muslims, is the site of a government “strike hard” campaign aimed at countering extremism and other behaviour Beijing has deemed a security threat. Allegations of human rights abuses and widespread repression in Xinjiang have prompted international protest, but few Muslim-majority countries have spoken out.
According to the Pakistani newspaper, the Nation, the country’s federal minister for religious affairs, Pir Noorul Haq Qadri, said strict regulations and laws fuel rather than counter extremism. To promote religious harmony, China should exercise patience, the minister told China’s ambassador to Pakistan, Yao Jing.
The minister reportedly proposed a delegation of Pakistani scholars visit Xinjiang to help. Emails and calls to Pakistan’s embassy in Beijing were not answered.