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Breaking up with China?

Published Jul 04, 2014 03:37pm


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A Chinese Muslim man fans himself as he waits for the time to break his fast. -Photo by AP
A Chinese Muslim man fans himself as he waits for the time to break his fast. -Photo by AP

It has been a long-standing love affair and there are numbers to prove it.

According to a Pew Research Center survey done just last year, the only country that loves China more than China itself, is Pakistan. Now, suddenly, there is news that threatens to fray these bonds of affection.

According to news reports, the Chinese Communist Party which has long placed restrictions on fasting in the Chinese Muslim province of Xinjiang has issued a ban on fasting. A Government website announced that all teachers, all students, and all civil servants would be banned from fasting in the month of Ramazan.

The ban is a sudden and severe curb on religious freedom in a province already often beleaguered by religious clashes and political unrest.

In one part of the region, retired school teachers were posted outside mosques to prevent students from entering the premises. In another, a school website announced that fasting could not be permitted because it was detrimental to student health.

The Bureau of Forestry in Xinjiang’s Zhaosu County held an event the day before Ramazan began in which party affiliates signed pledges saying that they and their family members would desist from fasting.

A weather bureau in the Hotan area of the province went even further announcing on its website that all Muslim employees would be required to sign a letter saying that they would not be fasting.

China does not have a stellar record of respecting the rights of minority religions. But this new ban and its accompanying restrictions are the most blatant curb on the freedom to practice religion seen in the country in recent days.

Back in 2012: 'China discourages fasting for Uighur Muslims'

At the same time, there is China’s long record of aid and alliance with Pakistan.

Not only has China been a longtime supporter of Pakistan’s nuclear program, it has recently also pledged to help bolster Pakistan’s civilian nuclear power capacity over the next five years. This includes the construction of a 2200MW nuclear power complex in Karachi that is forecasted to cost over 10 billion dollars.

China is also Pakistan’s largest supplier of military equipment and Beijing operates the strategic port of Gwadar in the Balochistan province.

On the civilian end, the two countries enjoy a free trade agreement, an accord signed last year created the “Pak-China Economic Corridor” The project which involved the construction of a 200 km tunnel, would connect Pakistan ironically to the very location of the problem, the Chinese Muslim province of Xinjiang.

As a Muslim country, Pakistan has been eager to stand up to the injustices committed against Muslims anywhere in the world. In most cases, these denunciations, whether they are of veil bans in France or pogroms in Gujarat, oft have not posed much of a challenge to the country’s strategic and economic interests.

This issue with China; its outright banning of what is a basic tenet of the Muslim faith may prove to be a trickier proposition.

From last year: 'Chinese anti-veil 'beauty' campaign sows ugly tensions'

Used to denouncing only the West and India, Pakistanis ignore the racism and human rights abuses perpetrated by those they consider to be their 'friends'.

In this respect, the condition of Muslims in Xinjiang requires the solidarity of others who believe in their rights of free exercise and the injustice of this ban.

At the same time, China’s actions against its Muslims are not that different from Pakistan’s indifference toward its own religious minorities.

Pakistani Hindus and Christians, while not facing outright bans, are used to being hounded, harassed and even killed. Viewed from this lens then, the Chinese and Pakistani positions on minorities are perhaps not that far apart; the difference only in the detail of which minority, Muslim, Hindu or Christian, bears the brunt of an intolerant state.

Hard as it may be on the poor Muslims of Xinjiang, this ban on fasting may not bring a break-up between Pakistan and China, becoming instead the wilful compromise on which marriages of convenience are built.

Author Image

Rafia Zakaria is an attorney and human rights activist. She is a columnist for DAWN Pakistan and a regular contributor for Al Jazeera America, Dissent, Guernica and many other publications.

She is the author of The Upstairs Wife: An Intimate History of Pakistan (Beacon Press 2015). She tweets @rafiazakaria

The views expressed by this writer and commenters below do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

Comments (245) Closed

Chakra Gaye ? Jul 04, 2014 03:59pm

What's the problem in turning a blind eye towards china? After all the whole world is quite, the OIC is silent, the new Caliph hasn't said anything. I think we should not say Anything

anshul Jul 04, 2014 04:01pm

Pakistan's hypocrisy at it best. how can they annoy all weather friend let them do whatever they think right. Xinjhiang is their territory let us focus on Gujarat riot, Kashmir and west.

Zalmay Khan Jul 04, 2014 04:13pm

Chinas ban on fasting is worrisome and will only add to its problems in the restive province of Xinjiang but declaring Pakistan to be an intolerant state just by some cases of attacks on minorities by some elements in society is hardly a rationale to declare a state as religiously intolerant while comparing even with the develpoed countries in the world which more or less drafts law repugnant to free exercise of religious practices.

insaan Jul 04, 2014 04:15pm

This is wrong....i am a Hindu but I oppose this Chinese move as stopping anyone from exercising their right to practice religion is against the basic rules of civilized society.

insaan Jul 04, 2014 04:15pm

This is wrong....i am a Hindu but I oppose this Chinese move as stopping anyone from exercising their right to practice religion is against the basic rules of civilized society.

Raja Jul 04, 2014 04:17pm

Stop the propagandas against China.

Sajjad Jul 04, 2014 04:23pm

This is a propaganda war raged by Uighur terrorists. One may ask whether this ban is only for Uighurs or is it applicable in rest of China. One thing is clear that China does not encourage flaunting of religious identities in its employees, and it may be encouraging people in Xinjiang to eat meals during day time and not to fast. It is quite contrary to coercing people not to fast, as is claimed in this article . It is a positive action by the Govt in helping state employees to get over the religious inhibitions.

San Jul 04, 2014 04:28pm

Chinese such policies are not acceptable. It shows Chinese intolerance to other religions. This move from China will definitely get a harsh response from not only Pakistan, but from the whole world.

San Jul 04, 2014 04:33pm

By banning Ramadan celebrations (i.e, fasting), China is doing religious blackmail.

AsR Jul 04, 2014 04:33pm

In Turkey, women are not allowed to cover their heads during their work in government departments and educational institutes. It is internal matter or Turkey and we do not need to poke our nose. Similarly whatever China does with its citizens it is their internal problem. We need to come out of "Islam kay Thaikaidar" mentality.

Ali Khan Jul 04, 2014 04:37pm

The column was fine but I could not figure out the reason why the Condition of China is compared to that in Pakistan, the author must know the difference between an action of a state and action of a single person or community.

Frank Jul 04, 2014 04:42pm

Only a fool would call a state intolerant on the basis of atrocities committed by terrorist groups.

Dinesh Jul 04, 2014 04:45pm

Maybe time for Pakistan to table a resolution at the UN for a plebicite in Xinjiang (East Turkmenistan)? No? Why not?

Ahmed Jul 04, 2014 04:51pm

Ms. Zakaria: Please stop finding reasons for Pakistan to quarrel with neighbors. Find something more useful to write on.

SYED ZAFAR KAZMI Jul 04, 2014 04:51pm

@Ali Khan

Well said

Swabhiman Jul 04, 2014 04:59pm

Both Pak & China, friends of convenience, are intolerant and sometimes brutally cruel towards their minorities. When will they learn to respect the rights of their minorities?

Sakhi Ismael Jul 04, 2014 05:09pm

@Rafia: shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

fida sayani Sindhi Jul 04, 2014 05:11pm

Both China and Pakistan are equally intolerant towards there minorities. The Pakistan constitution discriminate towards there minorities clearly by not allowing them to become President of Pakistan. While Jinnah clearly advocated that all Pakistani irrespective of their Cast and Religion are equal citizen of Pakistan.

Ashar Jul 04, 2014 05:13pm

Pakistan govt. should discuss the issue with china and try to understand the rationale behind this decision. Discussion should be held and govt. level and no party should issue statement on this matter.

anil Jul 04, 2014 05:14pm

China is a communist country and hence their ban on these things is right . China is happier and peaceful because they are atheist nation and muslims of china can break that tradition . I wholly support this action . Islamic countries are very notorious so far these minority rights are concerned . All nations with muslim population be it small or sizable are in turmoil . Leave aside the Islamic countries . There is something wrong with this religion which must be found out to save humanity and the world . Though I am not an admirer of china , But I support this action . You can see nobody in the world except muslims blame this action .

Umesh Jul 04, 2014 05:16pm

@Chakra Gaye ? The same yarstick should applied to West and India (Turing a blind eye)

Zarid Jul 04, 2014 05:22pm

The author is cent per right. If you look with an objective mind, apart from having common enemies of India and America...China and Pakistan have nothing in common in history, ideology, political values, cuisine, culture, language or diversity. China is a mono-ethnic Han nation that has very small minorities but Pakistan is a multi-ethnic country.

Enkay Jul 04, 2014 05:29pm

The Chinese took over the East Turkistan Republic in 1949 and at that time Muslims comprised between Ninety and Ninety Five Percent of the Population. Aftr taking over the Chinese "moved in" Millions upon Millions of Han Chinese so that by now the Muslim Population of China is about Forty Five Percent and the MajCEority Population content of Xinjiang is HAN CHINESE. There has been no Protest from the Over Fifty Islamic Nations who are Members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference. Peace

Syed Jul 04, 2014 05:31pm

The point here is if these things happen in India or in West Pakistanis would be on the street. But we don't see any demonstration in Pakistan because it happened in China. This is the issue.

Parminder Sadeora Jul 04, 2014 05:43pm

@Raja Propaganda?? Calling spade a spade is not propaganda.

Saqib Jul 04, 2014 05:59pm

I usually really enjoy her articles, but I am sick of this Pakistan bashing habit everyone has got used to. Its like anything Pakistan does is only hypocritical and not based on self interest but rest of the world is never measured by the same yard stick. Such a shame that we ourselves have bought into this line of thinking.

Sakthi Jul 04, 2014 06:01pm

Rightly said. In India minorities can follow any religion as they like, muslims get subsidy for Haj Pilgrimage, minorities can become President or Prime minister of India.. A considerable numbers of MLAs, Member of parliament have been elected by fellow citizens, Government never discriminate against any religion. Enenthough in case of any incident involving muslims happening in India is over highlighted in Pakistan. But when the chineese force brutally killed many innocent muslims in their restive province Xinjiang Pakistan never condemned it. The writer rightly said that Pakistan is the only country in the world that loves China most than China itself.

oldboy Jul 04, 2014 06:03pm

Chinese have a reason for doing everything and for them national interest is above everything else hope India and Pakistan can learn from them and not fall into appeasement politics for votes and sidelining national security and development.

Saad Jul 04, 2014 06:03pm

Well , its true and very disturbing to hear such suppression of religious freedom in our beloved neighbor, its not new as the writer has rightly quoted . But here the Question is that is there any problem in telling Your friend that " HEY BUDDY , LOOK THIS IS NOT RIGHT , WHY DON'T YOU RECONSIDER . EVERY RELIGION SHOULD BE RESPECTED" . We are indebted to Chine for its support but at the same time we should be morally courageous to convey politely what he is doing wrong to avoid backlash in Pakistan as we have number of Chinese here . All such state suppression actually cause resentment in the societies , subsequently capitalized by pseudo extremists and militants in the name of religion. Not only Militants but International power brokers can exploit this to target Chinese interests in Pakistan and development projects in the name of religion through terrorists operating in our country. This provide quite a colorful justification to extremists to fight for. In this way, we can fulfill our moral obligation as well and prevent fissures from exploitation.

Sunil Jul 04, 2014 06:12pm

China is a communist country, which will never allow disintegration any of its territory.

Liaqat SHAH Jul 04, 2014 06:18pm

Comparing Pakistan with China regarding minorities rights is not just. Pakistani state does not ban any religious practice. Whatever is happening is because of non state actors. However, in CHina it's the state who is banning religious practices.

Ahmed Jul 04, 2014 06:36pm

@Liaqat SHAH Pakistanis are all brainwashed about religion. They are afraid to use their common sense out of fear of being branded outcasts by the rest of the heard or else having the molvis after them. The Chinese are an intelligent and civilized people. Learn from them.

chand Jul 04, 2014 06:49pm

the only country that loves China more than China itself, is Pakistan.

Syed Ahmed Jul 04, 2014 07:04pm

Let us not interfere in their internal matters, leave it to Allah Almighty he will guide the Muslims there.

Far sight Jul 04, 2014 07:41pm

Hypocrisy at heights and even admitted by the author!! Pakistan should stop being custodians of muslims all over the world and look after itself, trying to build a tolerant society to become a modern nation.

IDisagree Jul 04, 2014 07:47pm

Pakistan's diplomatic ties with China and China's treatment of the Muslims are exclusive subjects. They can not be brought together and discussed in context of one another. I think the only premise this article accomplishes is that Rafia Zakaria feels very troubled by the ban on fasting in China. It's the job of international human rights watchdogs to push China to uplift such a ban, not Pakistan. In fact Pakistan has nothing to with it. One can see a truly secular state object to such a decision, but not Pakistan. Pakistan's religious ideology is truly as myopic as any country's can get!

IDisagree Jul 04, 2014 07:49pm

Expected an article with a more liberal perspective from an author as educated and renowned as her!

Dajjal Jul 04, 2014 08:18pm

Instead of criticizing China, we should adopt their policies....

Mujtaba Jul 04, 2014 08:51pm

Guys let them do what they want to. If xinjiang ever gets freedom from China then there will be no Pak China border. xinjiang is the only place which connects pakistan and china and also there will be no Gwadar corridor project

Bharamjeet Singh Sidhu (Peshawar, Pakistan) Jul 04, 2014 08:51pm

@Swabhiman And both America and India, are the two most hypocritical countries in HUMAN HISTORY. Go apologize to ever single Indian Sikh for 1984 riots in which your Congress party helped murderers. In Peshawar, Sikhs and Muslims live side-by-side in harmony and your stupid media is lying about Sikh rights in Pakistan. Muslims and Sikhs are in mutual respect for each other where I live

n b Jul 04, 2014 08:54pm

@insaan . . . In 2014, we must see religion differently than the earlier days. Many Hindus fast on Ekadashi. Fasting can be done by those who have light job. However fasting in serious professions involving heavy work in mines, steel plants, construction, driving, fire brigade, police effects efficiency of work, as well as health of the individual. Laws of biology are same for all religions.

Jahangir Khan Jul 04, 2014 09:01pm

China has a long history of violations regarding human rights, animal rights and environmental protection. They have one of the highest rates of pre-birth killings of baby girls. Similarly, they have destroyed their own agriculture, so they are bribing poor and rich nations across the world to grow and provide food and other resources for them, even if these nations have to destroy their natural resources. A strange type of lust for money has emerged in China during last two decades. Have you ever heard or seen the removing of skin of a living sheep?

Sheikh Khalid Jul 04, 2014 09:08pm

How long before Chinese soldiers are sent to start guarding Chinese interests in Pakistan? seems like that could become a reality within 7-10 years.

Mateen Jul 04, 2014 09:09pm

We have to understand that these restrictions are not approved of by most native Chinese people; Such bans are a natural result of being an "insecure communist party". This party strongly believes that they can only develop and prosper if they have ultimate control over people's religious and philosophical identities. Thus many Chinese aren banned from practicing their oriental practices as well.

And then Chinese politicians truly live in a world where "might makes right" - there's no stopping the thinking of these politicians except by Chinese society itself. That day may be decades from now when the people have been organised and turned courageous enough to face this totalitarian gov.

Being so paranoid, insecure and controlling things with an irongrip cannot continue forever. These people will actually prosper more if their inhabitants are allowed the freedom to express their identity, you silence a person's voice but not their heart.

As for Pakistan's influence on this? Pakistan depends too much on China to risk making this big oriental brother frown and meddle in it's personal affairs.

The least we can do is allow Assylum to uighurs and help build uighur cities in Pakistan. We could do that for Palestinians aswell but Pakistan needs to be a different type of Pakistan for that first..

david Jul 04, 2014 09:10pm

China does not have a stellar record of respecting the rights of minority religions... Pakistan has !!

wisdom Jul 04, 2014 09:11pm

jis thaali ki khaate ho, usee thaali mein chhed kaise kar sakte ho?

NASAH (USA) Jul 04, 2014 09:12pm

Why China is banning fasting in the Muslim Turkestan Sinkiang province -- are they over worried about the nutritional health of their Muslim subjects -- or they are concerned about the increase in angry fanaticism propelled by empty stomach -- or they have taken upon themselves to reform the Turkemani Islam by banning some of its 5 basic tenets?

It surely is NOT one of the measures that will endear China in the eyes of the 1.2 billion Muslim followers.

Mateen Jul 04, 2014 09:16pm

@Sajjad -

Seriously what is wrong with you and people who voted + on your comments. --- Are you so gullible to think that Uighurs do not suffer? We have Uighur assylumseekers protesting against China all over the world to prove this (witnessing this myself in Sweden).

Alot of states abuse the word "terrorist" to justify their oppressions against minority people, it's not all black and white as you think - which is similar to why some people in Pakistan feel for the TTP or atleast for conservative, religious groups against the gov.

And how can you say it's a "positive" thing when the government stops people from fasting? Meddling in people's personal lives which does not concern them. Fasting, with exception to being a religious thing has been proven many times to be a healthy thing that promotes liverhealth, promotes your life, improves digestion and burns fat.

Please respect the minorities of the world. China may be a bestfriend to the nation of Pakistan, but just like Pakistan itself, it's far from perfect when it comes to treating minority groups and respecting people's freedoms.

NASAH (USA) Jul 04, 2014 09:23pm

@Ahmed Ms Zakaria concerns are legitimate -- in case tomorrow China takes over Pakistan and then bans the nemaz as well -- how Pakistan's million mullahs, maulvis, maulanas, mashaikhs will survive?

Nick Jul 04, 2014 09:26pm

@Zalmay Khan What about the muslims in America. There is a lot of harassment against us.

Karachi Wala Jul 04, 2014 09:28pm

China needs to be brought to some senses. But I doubt this can be achieved through the Islamic world specially via Pakistan. China is a communist country that has become the most progressive economic power in world in just few decades. They are very apprehensive about extremism within todays Islam which has plagued most of the Muslim world and trying to spread its venom all over the world. They are weary of this extremism penetrating within their borders and very rightly so. However, basic human rights and to practice one's faith should not take another extreme. China should let the people practice their faith as long as they are peaceful and otherwise law abiding citizens. Forcing people will create greater resentment and there will be more of a possibility Chinese Muslims align themselves with Muslims of extreme view.

Nick Jul 04, 2014 09:28pm

@Ali Khan The author is biased. These so called liberals and seculars just need an opportunity to attack Pakistan.

Farhan Jul 04, 2014 09:49pm

Pakistan has gained nothing by championing the rights of the Muslim world. This religo-centric world-view has only harmed Pakistan in a world where countries jealously guard their national interests regardless of religious affiliations. A solid relationship with China is in Pakistan's national interest, and that's all that should matter. And by the way, what a childish and immature title to this story !

Farheen Jul 04, 2014 09:50pm

Its better to look our own problems.Its their country. they can do everything. Can you tell me does Pakistan also give equal rights to minorities? You need to look the reasons why they ban fasting. Please don't need to propagate hatred against China.

Indian Jul 04, 2014 09:52pm

@Liaqat SHAH What difference whether it is state sanctioned or individuals or groups if the state of Pakistan just simply watching and doing nothing to stop.

Sana Ullah Jul 04, 2014 10:40pm

Taking away a basic right from humans... China is completely wrong on that

Sahil Jul 04, 2014 11:06pm

Let's face it, relationship between China and Pakistan are mostly one way. Pakistan to China is what Afghanistan is to India. China strategically uses Pakistan to surround India and keep pressure on. It is not that China and Pakistan share deep cultural ties and are at par. China mostly extends strategic help to Pakistan and being short of friends, Pakistan likes China even more.

This article points out that Pakistan can't complain about China much because Pakistan itself has poor record of treating it's minorities. The fact of the matter is people getting killed on regular basis by extremists, Pakistan doesn't have good record of even treating its majority in fair manner.

irfan Jul 04, 2014 11:12pm

This is called pilcrow, "At the same time, China

Aziz Jul 04, 2014 11:32pm

Ms. Zakaria.

Please stop making Muslims becoming fodder for the second time - this time for the Chinese. We have already suffered enough because of our so-called -religious zeal against the Soviets. Our region is totally devastated

Why is there no official comment from the Chinese government included in your report?

With the devil playing "divide and rule" throughout the Mid-East and Far-East I thought we would all have become wiser. The mosque you show in the picture is in Beijing. It used to closed. When General Zia-ul-Haq requested the Chinese government to allow Muslims to pray there five times the Chinese government acceded to the request. I have myself being there on different occasions.

Even if the Chinese government has banned fasting (I personally think they may be very low level over-zealous functionaries )that then the best course is for Muslim governments to talk to the Chinese government at the highest level. Pakistan can raise the issue directly.

Please don't trap the nation in yet another episode of self-destructive emotional reactions

KK Jul 04, 2014 11:33pm

Because of this act China will loose its value in Muslim countries very soon.

SBB Jul 04, 2014 11:33pm

Great article... this is a tricky situation for all parties involved, the Chinese and Pakistani government, and the populations within them. Thus far, only one government seems be gaining from the current policies. Forget old hatreds, and open your eyes.. but who's listening? In a friendly India-Pakistan scenario, both countries would benefit. In life and in governance, working as equals benefits both parties.

Rajiv Jahangir Chaudhri Jul 04, 2014 11:52pm

Good article overall and very perceptive in its conclusions. Marriage of convenience it may be, but the price that Pakistanis, both liberals and religious zealots, will pay for this marriage with China will keep on going up.

KHAYYAM Jul 05, 2014 12:01am

"Government website announced that all teachers, all students, and all civil servants would be banned from fasting in the month of Ramazan", I think there is a point here, if a person i.e. teacher, student, civil servant cannot perform his duties well enough during fast, who is responsible? that person or ramzan? Chinese government is secular, law is for all, religion is a matter of personal choice in China. Before thinking ill about an issue, please try to analyze it first. may be i am wrong but every issue requires analysis

Observer Jul 05, 2014 12:26am

It is very unfortunate that a PhD scholar and writer cannot distinguish between state imposing restriction on a religion and intolerance of different religion by a fanatic group(s). In Pakistan state protects all the religions and gives liberty for religious rights and prayers.

kamaljit Singh Jul 05, 2014 12:38am

You know Pakistani foreign policy is made at GHQ or at Saudi Palaces.

Ravi Jul 05, 2014 01:12am

Pakistan is the greatest friend of communist country China but hostile to Islamic country Afghanistan. Broke away from Islamic republic of Bangladesh. Confusing!

peacelover Jul 05, 2014 01:16am

@AsR if whatever china does is it internal problem, then why doesn't pakistan stop poking nose in kashmir. I think pakistan is literally dependent on china and can't dare say any word against it. i think china is happy because china doesn't need to invade pakistan also. just demand the territory from pakistan and pakistan will happily "gift" it like it did with aksai chin area of kashmir. it's already operating gawadar. it's doing business with pakistan. language of china being taught as mandatory. over the few hundred years, pakistan will become part of china.. mean no offence to anyone but saying by the way things are going right now..

Vish Jul 05, 2014 01:29am

The article takes a small step in the right direction but does not go far enough. The paranoid enmity with India and the blind faith in China are both misplaced. A man (or woman) can have only one wife but may have several lovers. Sadly this is the situation with regard to Pakistan. The simple truth is that Pakistan has many more things in common with India and that will be the case forever. China is a marriage of convenience simply to pressure India, similar to making the wife jealous. Nothing more. It would not be surprising to see the relationship with China change once it is no longer convenient. Just look at the Mideast now.

kuzzy Jul 05, 2014 01:40am

China has a compelling reason - This month-long fasting radicalizes its Muslim minority. The Uighur Muslims have to bear hunger while they watch the rest of the population - the Han Chinese can jolly well enjoy their noodles and pot-sticker four times a day. This collective self-inflicted suffering of Uighurs in the name of their religion, causes them to believe in their "sacrifices" , "superiority" and their differences with non-Muslims.

kuzzy Jul 05, 2014 01:41am

@insaan It radicalizes their Muslims. That's why they are stopping it. They are very practical.

Romulus Jul 05, 2014 01:57am

@Liaqat SHAH Yes just like all those people killing in the name of Islam are not true Muslims.

Saleem Akhtar Jul 05, 2014 02:06am

My message to my beloved country China is very brief and therefore to the point. You are going wrong way. U are axing China. By banning fasting, U waging a war with one who is Mighty , who is more powerful than u. U may got be able understand or imagine his powerfulness. That is Allah, the powerful. Write down my words, u triggered hear the process of fall of China, the county that I loved so far. U are converting love into hate with my heart sadenned.

Avtar Jul 05, 2014 02:34am

Paki, Chini bhai bhai! Right on Rafia! The Pak govt. and TV's controlled by the religious groups will not raise a boo against the Chinese.

shoaib Jul 05, 2014 02:51am

@Saqib well said bro ..

hidayat Jul 05, 2014 03:33am

I don't understand why Dawn allows anti Pakistan and anti Islam comments made by the Indians.

John Jul 05, 2014 03:41am

@Zalmay Khan Some of you need to go back to school and learn math. By what standards do you call them few attacks on minorities?

John Jul 05, 2014 03:44am

"According to a Pew Research Center survey done just last year, the only country that loves China more than China itself, is Pakistan" - Love the statement as it echoes mine and thousands of other people's sentiments towards China & Chinese people.

BIH Murdoch Jul 05, 2014 04:18am

@Zalmay Khan An attack on May 22 in the regional capital of Urumqi by four people who threw bombs in a vegetable market killed 43 people, including the attackers. On June 22, police in Kashgar in the far west said they killed 13 assailants who drove into a police building and set off explosives, injuring three officers. Authorities have blamed two other attacks at train stations in Urumqi and in China's southwest on Muslim extremists. we still blame China??

BIH Murdoch Jul 05, 2014 04:19am

@hidayat it is called freedom of speech!!! but then as a Pakistan, it is hard to understand that, would not it?

Jani Jul 05, 2014 04:28am

@San Before pointing fingers to China let us check our own trek record regarding persecution of minority sects and cults besides religious minorities.We blast their buses,destroy their churches, burn their properties but feel pride in criticizing China where the extremists are threatening the political and economic stability.

Bhavani Jul 05, 2014 05:59am

Chinese saying: I ewxcuse those whom I owe money!

Dr.Shafique Jul 05, 2014 06:52am

I don't know if it is true that Pakistan is the only country that loves China (besides, of course, China loving itself!); however, you might also like to ask if China really loves Pakistan. You will be surprised at the answer from this so-called "all-weather-friend". China considers Pakistan as a bottomless barrel that only wants money, more money and even more money. Pakistan has a zero economy, an ubiquitous corrupt "parallel" economy poised to overtake the "official" economy, and the self-destructive religion-inspired terrorism that is driving away foreign and domestic investors. China - still - smiles at Pakistan because, as one Chinese friend recently told us at a party in Dubai, Pakistanis play the role of "useful idiots to perfection". Even our best friend China is tired about Pakistan's age-old whining against the world, particularly India and the USA which have been responsible for all our problems, including the recent flooding in Pakistan, the stoning of a Pakistani woman before a courthouse, and other great things taking place in Pakistan. May the Almighty help us!

Ajay Jul 05, 2014 07:03am

Religion should be ones personal matter- between the person and God (if he or she believes in one). The state should have no right to stop anyone from fasting. Nor should any state penalize a person for deciding not to fast.

kala Ingrez Jul 05, 2014 07:47am

It is a shameful act to control freedom of people, but the communism is based on power control and the new imperial Maoism even worse with its new roots in American capitalism. China knows she can get away with just about any form of oppression of her people because the world turns the other eye when it comes to China - the supplier of cheap goods and demolisher of local economies all over the world.

Tamza Jul 05, 2014 07:53am

The guardian of world's freedoms is the UK and US .. let them complain to China for the abridgment of religious freedom.

M. Mushtaq Ahmed Jul 05, 2014 08:33am

China should be politely reminded to not bar people from practicing their religion. Just look at Russian suppression of central Asian countries. Did it work, sure not. China action could cause more harm than any good.

Mushman Jul 05, 2014 08:41am

@San : Pakistan craves more territory. It will welcome Xinjiang as another "Azad Xinjiang"! But there will be NOTHING "AZAD" about it!

Mushman Jul 05, 2014 08:43am

@Frank :Pakistan has made Ahmadis illegal and non-Mulsim by law! Therfor ePakistan is intolerant of Ahmadis!PERIOD!

Kolsat Jul 05, 2014 08:57am

What business is it of pakistan or any other nation what Chia wants its citizens to do? Muslims should only be concerned with the conditions in their respective countries and not poke their nose where it does not belong. Such behaviour has brought misery to thousands in countries such as Syria, Iraq where out of state jihadists are raining destruction on the populace of these countries.

I.Khan Jul 05, 2014 09:07am

Ms.Zakaria, can't you think of anything better to write about? China is a socialist country and they run their country according to their system. We should be more interested in putting our house in order than direct criticism to other. Writers like you are interested to see simple Pakistani get angry , burn tires and get killed by police .Before taking pen in hand , you should know consequences of your words!

ss Jul 05, 2014 09:26am

China's main goal is to become super power and to compete with America, it does not believe in god and feels that such a belief system is detrimental to achieve that goal. To them ie leadership of the party, fasting is supercitious ritual and interfere in the countriy's economic development. Pakistan needs first to develope its economy and china is helping to achieve that goal but its not being done on some altruistic basis, they have self interest in all these ventures in Pakistan.

Rahul Jul 05, 2014 09:36am

Its like Hitler asking Mussolini to shun violence....We indians are proud of our Gandhian culture...

Rashid Jul 05, 2014 09:44am

I wish we had the same strictly enforced laws in Pakistan.

someone Jul 05, 2014 09:47am

How naive of the author!!!! Does not she know that Kashmiri and Palestine Muslims have the exclusive rights over tears/protests of Pakistani people?? Rest of the Muslims don't even count, specially when they are mistreated by all weather friends.

Vijai Murugan Jul 05, 2014 09:53am

@Bharamjeet Singh Sidhu (Peshawar, Pakistan) Pl. continue to live there forever. Guru Tej Bahadur will be happy in Heaven

AL Jul 05, 2014 09:54am

@NASAH (USA) They have 1.3 billion people and rising soon to 1.4 billion.

zoro Jul 05, 2014 09:58am

There is nothing called "Free Lunch" Pakistan must learn the lesson.... real fast !!!

Last Word Jul 05, 2014 10:02am

Pakistan has always shown and even practised its blind love for China , giving free passage, territory, ports, signing various projects and agreements but, the latter has shown scant respect for Pakistan in any sphere including religious rituals. However, the country which is ill-treating its own minorities with forcible conversions has no locus standi to point finger against anyone including China.

Shyam Kokku Jul 05, 2014 10:04am

Author captures the mood of Pakistan's helplessness towards Chinese policies on Islamic religious practices very well in this article, without being judgmental. I would like to add three more points to this. First of all, it has never been China's need to cozy up to Pakistan (though Pakistan is a good customer of its nuclear and military products) than Pakistan's need to have China on its side for different reasons. Second, with its dismal record to protect religious interests of both minorities and even some sects of Muslims in Pakistan, the latter is in no position to take a stand on religious freedom. Third and most important, Pakistan is too small a country in the world's political arena, whose voice will be heard even by it's "closest friend". What Pakistan thinks about itself is inconsequential as compared to how seriously it is taken by other countries, China included.

Maria Jul 05, 2014 10:04am

@ASR This truly is their internal matter but where is the freedom of religious minorities goes by? Being a Muslim our first priority is ISLAM and then any other country's law comes by. And if anyone would interfere In the practices which ALLAH has made obligatory upon us, then obviously we would raise voice,whether it be hijab or anything. I am just totally surprised by your comment, for this temporary life, you are trying to let go with the obligations through which you will get successfully into the permanent life domain. Strange mind set!!! May Allah guide you.

Double Standards Jul 05, 2014 10:13am

Why was there no such outbursts when France banned the Hijab, Switzerland banned mosques with minarets, and Britain is actively considering banning the Hijab?

Muslim countries have increased their interactions with these countries after the ban.

Sunil Jul 05, 2014 10:22am

Truth written by Ms Zakaria.

But an inconvenient truth.

Rightly many readers advice to turn a blind eye to it.

Who cares if it is hypocrisy or not

Sohail Khan Jul 05, 2014 10:28am

China's people mostly are communists. They believe in Lenin's and Marx's philosophy. Vladimir Lenin, speaking of religion in Novaya Zhizn in 1905,[5] clearly alluded to Marx's earlier comments :..... "Religion is one of the forms of spiritual oppression which everywhere weighs down heavily upon the masses of the people, over burdened by their perpetual work for others, by want and isolation... Impotence of the exploited classes in their struggle against the exploiters just as inevitably gives rise to the belief in a better life after death ... as impotence of the savage in his battle with nature gives rise to belief in gods, devils, miracles, and the like.... Those who toil and live in want all their lives are taught by religion to be submissive and patient while here on earth, and to take comfort in the hope of a heavenly reward. But those who live by the labour of others are taught by religion to practise charity while on earth, thus offering them a very cheap way of justifying their entire existence as exploiters and selling them at a moderate price tickets to well-being in heaven.... Religion is opium for the people. Religion is a sort of spiritual booze, in which the slaves of capital drown their human image, their demand for a life more or less worthy of man." The Chinese are SCIENTIFIC in their thinking here.

Weirdity Jul 05, 2014 10:36am

Pakistan is not really in a position to criticize China or France or India or Modi or anybody else for that matter regarding how minorities are treated for the simple fact that the pot cannot call the kettle black. In other words, Pakistan does not have credibility based on how it treats its own non-muslims citizens. If it does criticize, it looks like a hypocrite. Maybe the author should advise Pakistani society to cleans its mess in its own backyard instead of criticizing other societies.

Weirdity Jul 05, 2014 10:38am

@fida sayani Sindhi says "While Jinnah clearly advocated that all Pakistani irrespective of their Cast and Religion are equal citizen of Pakistan."

If thats what Jinnah really wanted, there won't be a Pakistan today.

Weirdity Jul 05, 2014 10:41am

@M. Mushtaq Ahmed says "China should be politely reminded to not bar people from practicing their religion"

Do you want to jeopardize the JF-17 thunder project or all the multiple chinese sponsored projects in Pakistan? Beggars can't be choosers and i think you know who the beggar is in this relationship.

Rajesh Jul 05, 2014 10:41am

@AsR do you have same principle for Indian Muslims as well??

komal s Jul 05, 2014 10:45am

@Liaqat SHAH How many countries on the world even use the term non-state actors. Can you please identify some of your non-state actors. Getting sick and tired of this excuse.

hj-007 Jul 05, 2014 10:55am

@ AsR Well said ...

wsyed Jul 05, 2014 10:57am

@Frank Good point but then there is the question of declaration of Ahmadis as not "Muslims" and the Blasphemy Law. On the other hand it is not just Pakistan, the whole world is ignoring religious intolerance towards Muslims everywhere, in part because of senseless violence by Muslim extremists upon innocent civilians. Islam excuses Fasting under certain conditions. Underage children/students, sick, elderly frail people fall in that exempt category. Laws prohibiting sale of food during fasting period is unfair to minorities and people who are unable or do not wish to fast. The argument, that selling food during Ramazan is disrespectful to people who are fasting is totally unfounded, real lesson of fasting is to learn tolerance and purify yourself against all temptations. Banning everything is making our religion narrow minded and unpopular. Islam did not spread acroos the world because it had a narrow interpretation, it was accepted because of the sense it made and learning it provided. Nobody would have converted to Islam if it was a closed religion. Some people are doing harm to Islam by interpreting it too narrowly, in the end it is up the individual to follow or not, only Allah/God will be the Judge on judgement day. No one else has that right.

e a khan Jul 05, 2014 11:01am

Persecution of minorities in China is state sponsored where as in Pakistan the case is different where sudo Mullahs are leading the charge. Both cannot be equated. Why label only China, doesn't Burqa ban in France bother you at all. We feel elated throwing mud at ourselves. if you care soo much about the minorities, very rightly though, why cant the constitution be changed where a non muslim has the same right to be President PM services chief or chief justice as any other muslim citizen. Some one referring to Gujrat and Kashmir should be very very careful seeing the minority abuse record across the border.

e a khan Jul 05, 2014 11:03am

@AsR let me correct you..that ban in Turkey is no more as same was lifted in 2008 by AKP

e a khan Jul 05, 2014 11:07am

@Swabhiman I have heard that religious tolerance in India has reached top of Everest in India....Babari Mosque, Kashmir, Gujrat, People burnt alive in train, Operation Blue Star, Nun raped and killed, Muslims not allowed to own property in Mumbai, ufffff i am getting tired

KKRoberts Jul 05, 2014 11:12am

"According to a Pew Research Center survey done just last year, the only country that loves China more than China itself, is Pakistan"

The Pakistan should learn from China.

China doesn't like any organized religion.It is false to say China is intolerant to minorities.China is more intolerant to its majority religion.The only religion allowed in China is "Communism". Please don't ask what "communism" is.

Javed Jul 05, 2014 11:19am

@Ahmed Ha! You mean to say Pakistan never tries to find reason to quarrel with it's neighbors? You think only china is pakistan's neighbor, not India and Afghanistan?

Javed Jul 05, 2014 11:20am

@Ali Khan Still living in ignorance?

Javed Jul 05, 2014 11:22am

@AsR When it comes to India you happily become "Islam kay Thaikaidar". Why not when it comes to China?

Javed Jul 05, 2014 11:27am

@Syed Ahmed But when it comes to other countries you become "Islam kay Thaikaidar". What a hypocrisy!

Lucky Star Jul 05, 2014 11:29am

Chinese communist party days are numbered. Chinese leaders should know what happened to Kaddafi of Libya. Americans are looking for the opportunity to tighten noose around the neck of communist party leadership with the help of Chinese people.

ravi Jul 05, 2014 11:38am

@anshul bhai here in india we do not stop muslims from fasting. you should visit india and then take a stand. all that you hear or see is not true. i would request you to once come to india and then place your views

kamaljit Singh Jul 05, 2014 11:41am

@Bharamjeet Singh Sidhu (Peshawar, Pakistan) ; is it true that Sikhs have to bury their dead where you live? That is in the news papers.

Hina Jul 05, 2014 11:48am

@Raja: this is a news not propaganda. You do not want to see the reality because you are getting aid from china. And how can we survive without aid? ironical !

Nayyar Jul 05, 2014 12:10pm

@Double Standards Because Muslims their selves are not really sure which way to opt for. You cans see this from few of the mentioned comments here even. Being a muslim just by name is like a psuedo Muslim and many Muslims fall under this category unfortunately.

Lloyd Jul 05, 2014 12:26pm

Focus on your country and the human rights conditions within!

ravi Jul 05, 2014 12:33pm

@e a khan Yes those incidents did happen in India, but have been resolved. Govt does not discriminate on the basis of religion, and asks its citizens to be judiciuos in matter of religion or others.

sanjeev Jul 05, 2014 12:46pm

@Syed Ahmed Take the same stand every where and you will be a peaceful society.

Alam Jul 05, 2014 12:59pm

In Pakistan Ramzan is considered as a month with 30 holidays, we dont want to work during this holly month, I am happy with Chinese government move.

Abdur Rehman Jul 05, 2014 01:10pm

this is against basic human rights.Chineese have a history of such barbarism.they build the great china wall not to stop invaders but to keep the population inside prison

Abdul Jul 05, 2014 01:22pm

@Zalmay Khan What about second amendment ? blasphemy law used exclusively and extensively against minorities and also laws prohibiting non muslims from important posts ?

Abdul Jul 05, 2014 01:27pm

@San Sorry, unlike Pakistanis the rest of the world does not have time for useless things.

Maju Jul 05, 2014 01:38pm

Pakistanis believe that they are believers and they fighting against non believers(Jihad).My question is then How they support China (A Non Believer nation).This is truly a double standard.

A Subha Jul 05, 2014 02:00pm

Rafia .... Greatly written, as always. Your this effort alone, must have woken many blindly in love with China. Don't expect any good thing from Pakistani leaders, of whom a heavy majority is morally bankrupt...

jt Jul 05, 2014 02:05pm

@KHAYYAM chinese govt is not secular , secular means allowing all religions to practice without discrimination they are atheist means no religion is allowed

B.D.SINGH Jul 05, 2014 02:09pm

It is irony. There are about 20 crores Muslims in India enjoying all religious and democratic rights, but India is enemy. All religious rights of Muslims are denied in China and is still a best friend. There is possibly no family in Pakistan having no blood relative in India and there is perhaps no body in Pakistan having blood relatives in China. India and Pakistan are twins of undivided India. Both the countries are having so many things in common. Both the countries are fighting with each other due to psychological problems which should be ended at once.

A Kashifi Jul 05, 2014 02:20pm

China banning fasting in a restive province is nothing what Pakistanis are doing to their fellow Muslims and countrymen in N. Waziristan for similar reasons. Get a grip on reality please.

WAHEED Jul 05, 2014 02:37pm

I oppose such steps taken by any society/authority of any country. I condemn columnist's remarks against Pakistan treating its minorities. The issue of killing and harassing people is not only with minorities. Most of such activities are organized by terrorists against all people of all religions, especially the Muslims. Figures elaborate that Muslims' killings extensively surpass that of minorities. I condemn such incidents for all sects and religions.

Our columnists should not relate these to some certain minority and stop defaming Pakistan and Muslims.

stranger Jul 05, 2014 02:41pm

Please don't expose hypocrisy, Rafia. This is totally uncalled for.

Riky Jul 05, 2014 02:48pm

Soon Chinese muslims will be seeking asylum in Pakistan , what will pak do to his muslim brothers in china , where will be loyalty ?

tajamal Jul 05, 2014 02:51pm

Pakistan have taken security contract for the safe guard of all the muslim world which is good but if a country fail to protect its own citizen from foreign proxies terrorist then its become just an awkward situation which we right now facing in Pakistan, in different form of terrorism,extremism etc. Yes it is not right for the Chinese regime to snatch their citizen freedom on gun point. but its their internal matter like full veil ban in France etc.

I think the author have a studies of western perspective regarding China and Pakistan which nourishing the hatred spirits in already upset and disappointing pakistani viewer.

Vijaysalem Jul 05, 2014 03:03pm

@Saqib I think she is level headed. Hope atleast a few Pakistanis realise the rationality.

Kranti Jul 05, 2014 03:07pm

This attitude of PAKISTAN is great. Everybody knows what PAKISTAN is...Ofcourse.

qwe123kids Jul 05, 2014 03:12pm

@Raja this truth not proganda

A shah Jul 05, 2014 03:15pm

Pakistan will bring the Chinese to their knees

Saqib Jul 05, 2014 03:40pm

@Sakthi IS this a joke, you have a party every 10 years or so that involves killing thousands and thousands without which you cant seem to live. Minority rights in India - please get real.

Masoud Jul 05, 2014 03:42pm

It is a fact that Pakistanis love China from the core of their heart, China is a great friend of Pakistan too. It must be understood that love & respect for Islam is above & greater than everything & there cannot be any comparison. To make it under better Pakistanis love Islam more than Pakistan. For all these years we never heard China creating any problems for muslims, lately the insurgents & terrorists started anti estate activities killing innocent peoples, this is an inexcusable situation that needs a check & balance. All that China wants is a peaceful existence once this is insured like before China will not have any complain & would be too happy facilitate observance of all religious ritual with hindrance. Here I would also like to state my fear that a well planned scheme somewhere is brewing to dent Pakistan - China relationship, however this will not succeed

Lalat Jul 05, 2014 04:44pm

@Saqib Calling spade a spade cannot be equated to Pakistan bashing,

Far sight Jul 05, 2014 04:45pm

@Zalmay Khan Some minorities? You hardly have 2% minorities left from 15% hindus in 1947!! Look who's talking.

XYZ Jul 05, 2014 05:32pm


Mohammad Kumbo Jul 05, 2014 05:34pm

Most Islamic countries apply punishment (even deportation in Saudi Arabia) if a non-Muslim is caught eating during Ramadan.

H.H.H Jul 05, 2014 05:45pm

@Raja Ah the denial. Propaganda? Oh please. China itself doesn't deny it does this, and in case you haven't noticed, this isn't the first time China has done this, and nor is it unexpected of China to do this. You do realize China is a communist country, right? Communist countries do not allow ANY religions to be practiced. Remember the former Soviet Union? Perhaps not.

I know the cognitive dissonance is tugging at you, but perhaps it's about time you need to reevaluate your beliefs instead of burying your head in the sand and pretending all's well.

SMQ Zaman Jul 05, 2014 05:46pm

I congratulate the writer (and Dawn for publishing this article and first breaking the news about the ban on fasting and religious discrimination against the Uighur Muslims) for speaking out against the hypocrisy of the Pakistani nation (in general, by mean s of double standards) and condemning the actions of the Chinese Govt.

To support the writer and Dawn I quote the Prophet (pbuh) who said, to the effect, that 'if you cannot do anything against injustice at least speak out against it and if you can't even do that then show your displeasure or distaste for that 'unjust act'.

I am surprised and deeply-disappointed to read such hypocritical statements by Muslim commentators (and in the holy month of Ramadan whilst they are fasting) of non-condemnation at least in words and uphold one of the five pillars (mandatory obligation) of Islam in support of their Muslim Chinese brothers in Islam! No doubt, then, that this nation of ours is gripped in serious 'trials and tribulations' (in general) for the last several decades and these continue unabatedly.....

However, I disagree with her comparison of the Chinese Govt.'s unfair and unjust ban with the discrimination against minorities in Pakistan (caused by individuals and non-state actors) unless she is referring to the Govt. of Pakistan and the governmental agencies for their failure in not upholding the law against such abuse of the rights of minorities by these non-state actors, in which case she is perfectly justified in her criticism.

RK Jul 05, 2014 05:55pm

@Ravi ; Pakistan did't breakaway from Bangladesh..they were drivenout by Indian army and Bangla freedom fighters..

wazir Jul 05, 2014 06:26pm

pakistan, 'human rights watchdog' specially in case of the india

vinie Jul 05, 2014 06:42pm

@Bharamjeet Singh Sidhu (Peshawar, Pakistan) hehe u dont knw history...that riots was happend because of some valid reason.. No place for terorism in india

Lucky Star Jul 05, 2014 07:06pm

"At the same time, China

S Jul 05, 2014 07:31pm

i think it is also bit hypocritical of the author, china whatever it does, does not go thousands of miles away to interfere in Muslim countries, or they do not care how we live our lives (which is the fundamental issue with the west)

khan Jul 05, 2014 07:42pm

@kuzzy If that is the case, let's ban it in Pakistan. Then we supposedly won't have TTP, or the angry mullahs.

Ayman Jul 05, 2014 07:45pm

Like friend turned bitter enemy, Pakistan will befriend enemy of India and ignore all the horrors China inflicts on the believers as long as it is enemy of its arch enemy India. China is even more of an unbeliever in its behaviour towards minorities , in its dietary habits, its political system and its hostility to religion.

I-SLAM Jul 05, 2014 07:56pm

@Liaqat SHAH Sure, Pakistan doesn't ban any practice. I heard that your school textbooks are very secular! Is that right?

I-SLAM Jul 05, 2014 08:05pm

@Enkay Why protest? Xinjiang is Chinese territory and they (Han) moved to Xinjiang to work and uplift their country. They moved everywhere to work (hard work) for money. They took over most of the manufacturing for the entire world and migrated to Africa, South America, Europe. They even took over Milan's garnet industry because the lazy Italians would not work so hard. It is a pure economic activity. They are not killing Xinjiang muslims just because they are muslims. They simply do not like religion to bring their an instability to their country. They did the same to Falun Gong. So stop loud mouthing about Chinese and sympathizing your innocent brothers. Are you concerned about Pakistani Hindus, Sikhs, Christians and Ahmadi community? What a hypocrisy.

Jacky Chan Jul 05, 2014 08:18pm

Look, who is preaching about minority rights?

Mairan Jul 05, 2014 08:26pm

"the wilful compromise on which marriages of convenience are built." That is an excellent description of the oldest profession. Now we understand the relationship ...

tnemeganam Jul 05, 2014 08:49pm

What wrong with selective morality or is it only allowed for the west?

Shamsher Jul 05, 2014 10:04pm

@Saqib And you have parties which kill minority peoples in every 10 days, I guess, I don't need to remind you atleast 10 major attacks on these people this year alone. Period!

Roger Jul 05, 2014 11:13pm

@Zarid - Islam has existed in the Chinese region almost since the times of Prophet Mohammed. The Prophet had sent his uncle to China, to meet with the Emperor at that time. Regardless, the number of Muslims in China is a much debated topic. The official numbers are around 20-22 Million. However, it is a question of how they are counted. Children below the age of 18 years are not included because they are supposed to be focused on common education and, theoretically speaking, are to be given the freedom to choose what they want to do at the age of 18. There are a number of Han Muslims, who do not get counted and do not get buried in Muslim graveyards. According to these sources, the unofficial number of Muslims in China is close to 100 Million. Therefore a VERY sizeable number.

Setu Madhavan Jul 05, 2014 11:53pm

@Syed Ahmed

But if it were India, you would have been crying rivers of crocodile tears now.

ajit paldhe Jul 05, 2014 11:56pm

It is indeed noteworthy that Razia Zakaria has courage to highlight plight of Hindus in Pak. Most of Indian columnist always play safe and ignore plight of Hindus in Pak as if afraid of their secular credentials be questioned. Generally,I find Pak media more objective,liberal and courageous than Indian counterpart and this article is testimony to that view. I thanks again to Razia ji for her courage to admit plight of Hindus in Pak.

Setu Madhavan Jul 06, 2014 12:00am

@Bharamjeet Singh Sidhu (Peshawar, Pakistan)

Bharamjeet Singh Sidhu, ever wondered that how come Sikhs who comprised over 70% of the population of Lahore soon after partition are today a miniscule minority there?

Abdul Malik Jul 06, 2014 12:04am

I suggest the writer should concentrate more on the religious intolerance in Pakistan than look beyond borders. Get your own house in order first. Charity begins at home !

PJ Jul 06, 2014 12:33am

@KHAYYAM That means if the government or the business houses in Pakistan (or anywhere in the world) issue same decree for its employees that should be ok. It is a personal choice, right. You think Pak can be so much tolerant. I think religion should be a basic right to exercise for everyone.

ijaz Jul 06, 2014 01:16am

@Syed Ahmed And I suppose he will guide them in Palestine and Kashmir too?

Another Indian Jul 06, 2014 01:28am

Pakistan, China friendship is a BIGGEST JOKE in the world!!!! Pakistan's punishment for atheism is DEATH penalty and China is a atheist country. LOL. What kinda friendship is this? :-)

Shridatt Sharma Jul 06, 2014 02:38am

Congratulations Ms Zakaria. A daring article on minorities problem crossing political & religious boundries.

Fahd Jul 06, 2014 03:27am

Rafia Zakaria I hope you are wise enough to know the difference between a state backed oppression towards minorities such as in china and a militant outfit which is being condemned by Pakistan. Not only that but you must be well aware about the on going operation against the TTP. keeping this in view the following excerpt from your blog is preposterous.

"Pakistani Hindus and Christians, while not facing outright bans, are used to being hounded, harassed and even killed. Viewed from this lens then, the Chinese and Pakistani positions on minorities are perhaps not that far apart;"

Please be aware that the state of Pakistan is not "hounding" any minority. Please stop this propaganda or next time please write with references to the official law enacted in the state of Pakistan that "hounds" any one group.

zaibokhor Jul 06, 2014 03:55am

Why we always try to become champions of Islam?? We have lost much more because of Islamic champions. First we should pay attention on the sorrowful condition of Pakistani minorities who are leaving their beloved country owing to continuous atrocities perpetrated by state sponsored terrorists. Even fellow shia Muslims are not safe from three so called radical elements.

suresh kumar Jul 06, 2014 04:44am

@Ahmed If someone talks about common sense then please do not ridicule that person.

Kate Jul 06, 2014 06:41am

@Dinesh I like it.

Kate Jul 06, 2014 06:42am

@Swabhiman Never.

Kate Jul 06, 2014 06:55am

@Fahd At the time of partition in 1947, Hindu population of Pakistan was about 20%. Today it is less than 2%.. Does that give you a picture of Pakistan's treatment of Hindus. On the other hand, Muslim population of India has quadrupled from the time of partition. What do you have to say for that?

Kate Jul 06, 2014 06:57am

@ajit paldhe I agree.

Kate Jul 06, 2014 07:01am

@B.D.SINGH Yes sir.

Shah Jul 06, 2014 07:37am

@Setu Madhavan For the same reason Amritsar was a Muslim majority town in 1946. Population exchange.

Fazal Karim Jul 06, 2014 08:06am

Pakistan government must politely protest against the ban. Chinese government act is violation of human rights too.

Fazal Karim Jul 06, 2014 08:18am

Where is OIC.

Ravindra Sharma Jul 06, 2014 09:22am

This is a matter of faith and world is delighted for pakistan's reaction on the issues. Congratulations to Pakistanis friends for this reactions .

Ishrat Jul 06, 2014 09:48am

@anil At this moment, there is not a single country in the world, where there is not at least single muslim living. Not all of them are in turmoil. Now, what was your point ?

Fahd Jul 06, 2014 11:14am

Stop living in this fantasy world of exaggeration. I have read multiple of your articles and you want to justify separation of state from religion by non existing analogies such as the one given here.

Fahd Jul 06, 2014 11:20am

@Kate There was a mass migration from both sides. Moreover please check your facts because most of the nonMuslims lived in then east Pakistan. Besides like I said the "state" is not the one "hounding" anyone in Pakistan. In fact the state is fighting the terrorists who are persecuting not only the minorities but also the Muslims in Pakistan.

mohammadnoonnanna Jul 06, 2014 11:50am

The author wants to push Pakistan into the foray by mentioning the Muslims' plight. The Xijiang is already a troubled area TAJIK, and UZBUK fundamentalists are indulging in shadow activities, thus blame falls on Pakistan that their Taliban were there. The article seems to have been tailored to induce Pak gov to express reservations over the issue. However, where are the champs of HUMAN RIGHTS and FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION ? Why only Pakistan has been singled out ? Motives behind it are something more than mere sympathy with the Chinese Muslims.

Sonny Afridi Jul 06, 2014 11:57am


Oh really? How are Dalits doing in india

Saleem Jul 06, 2014 12:26pm

@anshul Xinjian is not their territory. I suggest you check history. Like Tibet it was taken post 1949. Jul 06, 2014 12:48pm

this type of heinous china decision should be protested strongly.

Sajjad Khan Jul 06, 2014 01:15pm

Is Pakistan the guardian of Sinkiang Uighur Muslims while all of their neighbouring Turkish speaking countries next to it just turn a blind eye? Don't play with fire as it will engulf and burn Pakistan itself. Ramadhan is not for a modern society as Islam has never been reformed. Just look at the slacking industrial production and low economic activity during Ramadhan and the rise of food prices along with increased consumption coming along with it.

sam Jul 06, 2014 01:39pm

@anil ......A fool is a fool of and a hater you are in disguise.

Muhammad Riyaz Jul 06, 2014 01:49pm

@Dinesh YOU ARE DEFINITELY AN INDIAN HINDU? First fulfill your promise of plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir, then talk about plebiscite.

The friendship of China and Pakistan is far more deep than this kind of events.

Chai Jul 06, 2014 02:37pm

Why have Pak realised this now ? This has been going on for many years now

Fawad Jul 06, 2014 03:45pm

I praise Rafia Zakaria for highlighting these very important facts.... Perhaps India and China should learn to give its people this much freedom of speech...especially when they are quick to criticise their own country..... If world is truly fair then non of this crap we see around us with no hunger, poverty and persecution...

Rahul Jul 06, 2014 05:34pm

This is a Chinese internal issue.

shri Jul 06, 2014 07:33pm

@Saqib What are you saying man?

If someone speaks the truth - It becomes pakistan bashing.. I dont understand. Human rights in china is atrocious and has caused all boundaries and needs to be condemned.

Now, whats happening in pakistan is: If religious freedom of muslims are curbed in any part of the world - People come on streets and make a big noise. and If religious freedome of muslims are curbed in CHINA - No one says a word.

Such Hippocratic attitude...

Khan Jul 06, 2014 09:12pm

Please stay in China! You are better off living there!!

Muhammad Riyaz Jul 06, 2014 10:53pm

@shri Why are you so worried about Islam, when you being an Indian Hindu has nothing to do with it. Your intentions are not to protect Islam or minorities, rather your nefarious intentions are to create a rift between Pakistan and China. That's not going to happen My Dear.

Mustafa Jul 06, 2014 10:54pm

Although their methods are heavy handed, China is trying to assimilate the Muslims, India on the other hand is trying to enslave the Muslims and in some cases trying to exterminate them. Rest assured their are no Narinder Modis in China, at least not in power. Murder of a few hundred Muslims hardly registers on the main stream India media and much less on Pakistani media. How many commentators on this blog can recall when was the last time over 100 Muslims were massacred in India, the answer is Sept. 2013 in Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pardesh.

amod Jul 07, 2014 12:09am

@Saleem Akhtar r u brain washed?

amod Jul 07, 2014 12:22am

@Maria very right.........religious freedom is fundamental right.....of all humans

walter scott Jul 07, 2014 12:54am

@Ahmed Will Pakistan shouldn't interfere in China's affairs and just continue with it's obsession with its other neighbour India

Omar Jul 07, 2014 01:45am

It's called diplomacy of convenience.Yes,China has abysmal record concerning human rights----maybe on par with some sub saharan countries,yet there are dynamics in international relations where different matrices are assigned values according to the importance. The write should first explain the hypocrisy of US foreign policies where it supports one totalitarian regime wholeheartedly yet paints its immediate neighboring dictator as a monster and pariah. It's very easy to throw stones from faraway and be judgmental when there is nothing to lose!!

Pankaj Jul 07, 2014 02:01am

It is really nice to see a Pakistani speaking on this issue of Pak-China love. However, writer didn't reach reveal the real cause of this relationship and its consequences. The real glue between China Pak relations is their common hate and rivalry with India. Chinese communist dictators know very well that the only ideological, political and economic challenger to their hegemony in Asia can be India only. While Pakistanis as is always the case, are eyeing some favours/bounties in this Asian cold war. The wonderful thing is that Pakistani intellectuals are either silent or giving tacit support as they were doing in 1980's during US-Russia cold war. May be they will start saying something about it after 20-30 years later when nothing would be left to say !

raj patel Jul 07, 2014 02:32am

@Fahd What about blasphemous law of Pakistan? is it not discriminate minority? what about the law declares Ahmedia as non Muslim even though they worship same Allah? you will find lots of discrimination ln your laws if you want accept it as a discrimination.

Tariq Gulzar Jul 07, 2014 03:05am

I was in China yesterday , there is no such ban in the cities like Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Shanghai etc. May be in a remotest part a step has been taken to avoid tension. The writer calls herself PhD but doesn't understand the basics on Int'l relations. China is all weather friend, always supporting Pakistan on every issue and in all forums, we should avoid such negative articles against them.

Dharam Bahl Jul 07, 2014 03:19am

Chinese government is tightening the screws in the western province Xijiang on the Muslim community. Under the pretext of security, the government is telling the locals not to participate in their Ramadan fasting. How far they will be successful, only the time will tell, but the mere fact that such restrictions are being enforced is in violation of Muslims' religious rights. However, an astonishing fact is that there is no opposition shown by any of the Muslim countries especially in the Middle East. Are they afraid of China or just don't care of what happens to the Muslims in that part of the world? For whatever reasons may be, their silence on this issue leads one to believe that these Muslim leaders have a dual face when it comes to treatment of Muslims in the world. Just think of a reaction from the Muslim community if the USA had promulgated this prohibition and restriction for the Muslims not to participate in the Ramadan fasting. One could witness never ending anti-USA demonstration, destruction of property as well as anti-USA diplomatic maneuvering in the world. This writer wonders what the fundamentalist of Pakistan are thinking and what their reaction is about China's anti-Muslim policy. Are they really concerned or don't care for what happens to Muslim in China?

Faiza G. R. Bhatt Jul 07, 2014 03:22am

It is China's take on fasting and Pakistanis shouldn't interfere in it. have Saudia or Iran said anything yet?

Ashok R.Prabhu Jul 07, 2014 04:51am

What do the Chinese lose if the Muslims from China fast ?The ban of fasting in China for Ramazan is an interference in the free practice of religion.

Syed Shah Jul 07, 2014 05:23am

@Ahmed Well said, however Chinese atrocities should be discouraged and condemned.

Whistle Jul 07, 2014 06:26am

@Syed Ahmed Tell your mullah the same. Don't poke your nose where it not required.

Whistle Jul 07, 2014 06:31am

@Mateen Wow! great vision. Luckily Pakistan is well secured. Where the heck you come from

Whistle Jul 07, 2014 06:33am

@Mateen Mind your own country and its business. China don't need to consult you and your kind for the action they take just to their country.

Srikanth Jul 07, 2014 08:46am

@Bharamjeet Singh Sidhu (Peshawar, Pakistan) Its great that you leave in peace . After all , that what any sane person needs. But then we had manmohan singh as a PM for 10 years now . our Present past and incoming army chiefs are Sikhs. We had Sikh presidents , Governors , Cricketers . We have punjabi themed movies , songs , now rap songs and Punjab is the most fertile and the most prosperous country in India in terms of rice and wheat production and Yes , 1984 is a blot on the history of India . But I am proud that any one . I say it again and again and again that "Any One" has an equal right for an opportunity here in India . Just yesterday , a temple in UP was ordered to take off the loud speakers because muslims were majority there . We respect every one and a true Indian has this in his/her blood ! Stop the hypocracy , you have a tolerant strong patient and responsible brother right next to you . the only thing you will have to do is to "Notice" and "Respond". Peace brother !

Baba Jul 07, 2014 09:46am

@Muhammad Riyaz Rightly said, one can right turn a blind eye at our convenience..Just watch out the new unfolding drama in the middle east.

Nazim Jul 07, 2014 09:57am

@Whistle This not true is a propaganda, I am living here for the last 10 years & my other half is a Chinese Muslim. The situation is reverse. China have 56 minorities including Muslims and have a special policy that the minorities including Muslims businesses are tax free where as majority Hans are heavily taxed. There is no religious discrimination , people are free to adopt any religion but every one have to be a Chinese. Its surprising to read this bias article based on disinformation.

ROHIT PANDEY Jul 07, 2014 09:59am

@Dr.Shafique Almighty,according to age-old adage helps those who help themselves!:):)

Time for Muslim-Pakistanis to learn to stand on two legs-that would mean sane and sound state policies,divorcing religion from public life and honest heart-searching and course correction in a host of issues that plague Pakistan?:):)

Mubarik Jul 07, 2014 10:06am

"At the same time, China

alex peter Jul 07, 2014 10:46am

@Mateen Like ISIS is doing in Iraq?

alex peter Jul 07, 2014 10:52am

@IDisagree haha And had it been US brother?

alex peter Jul 07, 2014 10:56am

@Bharamjeet Singh Sidhu (Peshawar, Pakistan) And what about Hindus bro?

pervez ahmed Jul 07, 2014 11:28am

@Maria I have not seen any voice being raised

Muhammad Anwar ul Haq Jul 07, 2014 11:30am

Does china change its policy with pakistan's arguments against this issue answer "NO" they only thing will happen the paistan will lost its best faithfull friend in international community ...Its china's internal issue...

pervez ahmed Jul 07, 2014 11:33am

@Weirdity Pakistan was not there on the map of the world before 1947.

Mohammad Iqbal Jul 07, 2014 11:35am

Had such abuses and anti human activities perpetrated in India, atleast 100 ulema would have occupied all our TV channels and denounce India and will also take out rallies. But it was China who even imposed ban on fasting in public offices. Nobody dared to talk. This is really hypocrisy and nothing else

Shahzad Jul 07, 2014 11:42am

Ms Rafia what can you do, fit western 'culturally biased' terms on east! you know better, or at least one would think so.

pervez ahmed Jul 07, 2014 12:04pm

@Fahd Then same is case with India my dear.

Sheraz Jabar Jul 07, 2014 12:18pm

I lived in Pakistan, and known people of minority communities, being a nation we never harassed minority, or being killed just because they are minority, in Pakistan Muslims and non-Muslims all are victims of terrorism. So review your second last paragraph of article were you comparing both Pakistan and china similar over minority rights to exercise their religious events..

Sheraz Jabar Jul 07, 2014 12:20pm

@Ali Khan Absolutely right

Mustafa Jul 07, 2014 12:34pm


You wish to be ignorant and your wish has come true.

Mustafa Jul 07, 2014 12:37pm


"The real glue between China Pak relations is their common hate and rivalry with India."

Quite to the contrary, the real glue between India and the West is the hate of China and Muslims. What else does the West need from India?

Fahd Siddiqui Jul 07, 2014 01:12pm

@raj patel Please do some research. Ahmadi's are allowed to practice and preach their religion just so long as they do not call themselves Muslims. There is a fundamental difference between Ahmadia and Muslims. Just to be clear they consider other Muslims as non-Muslims and it is only fair if they are not allowed to call themselves Muslims. There are billion other words, pick and chose and practice your religion.

Blasphemy law does not persecute any minority! It is a law of the land that calls for strict punishment for those reviling any religious personality (not just Islamic!). Thats it! Just like other states(European, N and S American, Australian) where it is punishable by law to deny the holocaust, or to revile the queen, or to blaspheme any religious personality etc. Again, research will reveal to you that these are normal laws prevalent in the "modern" and "western" democracies. A basic search in Google will much educate you.

iqbal carrim Jul 07, 2014 01:12pm

From the Suez crisis in the 50's when Pakistan foreign policy sided with the West against all basic principles of logic and commonsense,it appears that the lack of vision continues.

Azmeen Jul 07, 2014 02:11pm

@Dinesh Why Pakistan should fight with a time-tested friend. Ask Saudi Arabia and OIC to go to UN to raise this issue. Pakistan must not indulge in affairs of other countries.

M Jul 08, 2014 04:50am

@AsR - you forget that Hijab is part of woman's dress in Islam. but fasting is a one of the fundamental pillar of islam. tomorrow if china or anyone else ban praying will you still say its fine???

Chishti Jul 08, 2014 12:00pm

The nuclear deals and Xinjiang issues are two different things, how can you realte these issues. Don't try to malign both countries. Pakistan and China.

Sardar Tayyab Haider Jul 08, 2014 01:19pm

Country that loves China more than China itself is Pakistan so Pakistan should take notice from china on this shame full act.

vicky Jul 08, 2014 04:35pm

@Mustafa. Similarly, what else can China gain from a nation likePakistan???

zak Jul 08, 2014 06:57pm

To take the role Pakistan is destined for in the world and specially the muslim world, it has to have a leader of substance. We have Nawaz-so thats a no brainer. Otherwise Pakistan should convince the Chinese that fasting should be allowed and how to deal with muslims with respect-then they will be loyal chinese citizens.

kalyan Jul 09, 2014 06:58am

@Liaqat SHAH: Ahammadiyas are a minority in Pakistan ( as they are not Muslims as per Pak law). Can they practice their religion in the way they would like to?

sks Jul 09, 2014 12:11pm

@AsR Do you agree that it is internal matter of Turkey and China and India's matter is your personal matter?

hippocrite Jul 09, 2014 12:26pm

ban on eating in public during ramadan in saudi arabia and other muslim countries is justifiable but ban on fasting in china is against the basic right of religious freedom...