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International relations

Pakistan's silence on fasting ban for China Uighurs riles activists

But is public resentment enough to force PM Khan's government to confront Beijing?

Men pray at a mosque at the Xinjiang Islamic Institute in Urumqi, in China's Xinjiang autonomous region, in January. Some observers believe that the $62 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor has provided reasons for Islamabad to look the other way on the Uighur issue.   © Reuters

KARACHI -- As the Muslim holy month of Ramadan started in early May, news of a fasting ban imposed on Uighurs by the Chinese government went viral on social media in Pakistan. In response, some influential Pakistanis with sizable numbers of followers on social media heaped criticism onto China for its treatment of Uighurs and urged their government in Islamabad to confront Beijing over the matter.

Pakistan's government traditionally has championed the rights of Muslims around the world, most notably in Kashmir, Myanmar and the Palestinian territories. Separate rallies in support of Kashmiri and Palestinian Muslims are held annually in Pakistan. But the Pakistani government and the public at large have been indifferent to action taken against China's Uighur population.

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