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08/23/2023

Senior Pakistani clerical delegation visits Uighur region

Senior Pakistani clerical delegation visits Uighur region

Reporting from Urumqi / China

Delegations of clerics visiting China’s Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region are proving that Western media and Uighur separatists’ claims that “China is banning Islam and practicing genocide against Uighur” are false.

The last important visit came from Pakistan, a country with high Islamic sensitivity. Between July 16-19, a delegation of senior Pakistani clerics visited Xinjiang, visiting Kashgar, Aksu, Urumqi and meeting with top Xinjiang officials.

According to the Associated Press of Pakistan, the delegation from Pakistan included representatives of high-level institutions. Prof. Dr. Qibla Ayaz, Chairman of the Council of Islamic Ideology, a constitutional body that advises Pakistan’s Parliament and government; Mawlana Fazlur Rahman, Deputy Emir of the Society of Islamic Ulema; Mawlana Tayyab Tahir, Emir of the Islamic Tehreek Pakistan Party; Mawlana Rashid-ul-Haq Sami, Director of Dar-ul-Uloom Haqqania, one of Pakistan’s largest religious schools; Sultan Ali, President of the Pakistan Institute of Islamic Studies; Asif Ghazi, Director of External Relations of the Pakistan Islamic Promotion Association.

Harmony, tolerance, prosperity, development

According to www.tianshan.com, during their stay in Xinjiang, the delegation visited scenic spots, ancient cities, historic streets, memorial halls and mosques. The delegation members expressed their appreciation to Chinese officials for China’s achievements in Xinjiang’s social stability, economic development, improvement of people’s livelihood, comfort of worship, cultural development and prosperity.  “Harmony, warmth and tolerance, prosperity and development” were the most common words used by the delegation members to express their feelings about the trip, Xinjiang Daily reporter Mihrigul Wu reported.

While visiting the night market in Khan Bazaar in Kashgar’s protected old town, Sultan Ali, President of the Pakistan Institute of Muslim Studies, said, “I feel like I am in a bustling sea. Local people are running their own shops, inheriting their culture, preserving their traditional customs and living happily.”

The delegation visited the Ethnic Musical Instrument Village in Shushi County and the Wan Tongshu Mukam Documentation Hall of the Xinjiang Institute of Arts, where they observed the work of preserving various cultures in Xinjiang and witnessed the Chinese government’s great efforts to protect Xinjiang’s intangible cultural heritage and respect and encourage minority cultures.

After visiting the Memorial Hall for the Protection and Comprehensive Management of Kashgar Old Town and Aksu Kekeya Memorial Hall, Asif Ghazi, Director of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan Islamic Promotion Association, said that it is touching to see that the Chinese government has significantly improved the living environment of people of all ethnic groups. “Under the leadership of the Chinese government, people from all ethnic groups in Xinjiang have worked generation after generation to transform desert land into a 10,000-acre sea of forest under difficult conditions, which is very remarkable,” Asif Ghazi said. He said. Asif Ghazi said that China attaches great importance to the protection of the ecological environment and its efforts to prevent and control desertification in Xinjiang are worthy of study and promotion in other countries.

Partnership in the fight against terrorism and extremism

The members of the delegation visited the “Themed Exhibition on Xinjiang’s Anti-Terrorism and De-Extremism Struggle” and learned about China’s counter-terrorism and de-radicalization efforts. The clerics expressed their support for China’s efforts to combat terrorism and extremism, noting that Pakistan faces similar challenges as China in counter-terrorism and de-radicalization and that China’s experiences are worth learning from.

“An opinion is better than a hundred hearsay. Through this trip we have witnessed the truly beautiful and colorful Xinjiang of China and we will tell the world about it.” Qibla Ayaz, Head of the delegation and Chairperson of the Pakistan Council of Islamic Ideology, said that during the visit she saw that the people of Xinjiang enjoy freedom of belief, cultural heritage is well preserved and the cities of Kashgar, Aksu and Urumqi are more prosperous than imagined.

Received by Ma Xingrui

According to Xinjiang Daily, the religious leaders and delegation from Pakistan were received by CPC Secretary of China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region Ma Xingrui and Chairman of the Uighur Autonomous Region Erkin Tuniyaz on July 18.

CPC Xinjiang Secretary Ma said that the United States, as well as other Western powers, have fabricated sensational lies and sophistry about Xinjiang, using ethnicity, religion, human rights and other issues to undermine Xinjiang’s stability and development. “But no lie can hide the fact that Xinjiang is a stable and prosperous society where people live and work in peace and contentment, and the Uighurs are a stable and prosperous society.” He said.

Ma said Xinjiang authorities are committed to maintaining social stability, promoting harmonious coexistence among all ethnic groups in the Chinese family, protecting believers’ freedom of religious belief in accordance with the law, and promoting high-quality economic and social development aimed at improving people’s livelihoods, all of which have yielded results.

“As the starting point of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and the core region of the Belt and Road Initiative, Xinjiang enjoys close exchanges and cooperation with Pakistan. We are ready to further expand communication and exchanges with local communities in your country and continuously deepen practical cooperation for the sake of the people on both sides,” he said.

Dr. Qibla Ayaz, Chairman of the Council of Islamic Ideology, reaffirmed Pakistan’s unwavering commitment to the one-China policy and expressed its strong determination to continue working with China on various projects, including CPEC. Members of the Pakistani delegation noted that Pakistan is a good neighbor, friend, partner and brother of China and always stands by China.

They said that during their visit to Xinjiang, they witnessed the great achievements made in economic and social development in Xinjiang and people of all ethnic groups sharing the fruits of development, especially under the guidance and protection of China’s ethnic and religious policies.

Visit to Xinjiang Islamic institute

During the visit to Xinjiang, the delegation also visited Idgah Mosque in Kashgar, Rhestegama Mosque in Aksu, Xinjiang Institute of Islamic Sciences Mosque and Bai Daxi Mosque in Urumqi and exchanged views with clerics.

He also visited the Islamic Institute in Xinjiang and was received by Abdureqip Tumulniyaz, President of the Xinjiang Islamic Association, APP reported.

Abdureqip Tumulniyaz briefed the delegation on the educational programs at the institute, including Quranic teachings, Islamic culture and the principles of the People’s Republic of China. He emphasized that Muslims from various ethnic groups, including Uighurs, Kazakhs, Hui and Mongols, enjoy religious freedoms in Xinjiang as enshrined in the Chinese Constitution.

The delegation met with about 200 students. Maulana Rashid-ul-Haq Sami, Director of Dar-ul-Uloom Haqqania, appreciated the students’ beautiful interpretation of the Quran and invited them to visit Dar-ul-Uloom Haqqania in Pakistan.

According to APP, the visit of the Pakistani clergy delegation to China was useful. Both sides expressed their determination to strengthen relations between the two countries.

Some members of the delegation are:

Prof. Dr. QIBLA AYAZ

Dr. Qibla Ayaz is the current chairman of the Pakistan Council of Islamic Ideology. The Council of Islamic Ideology is a constitutional body of Pakistan, responsible for providing legal advice to the government and Parliament on Islamic issues. It was established in 1962 during the Ayub Khan government.

Qibla Ayaz received his MA in Islamic Studies from the University of Peshawar in 1975, followed by a PhD in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Edinburgh in 1985 on the Seljuk State. He conducted internationally renowned studies in this field. He served as Vice Rector of the University of Peshawar. He is the author of five books and a regular contributor to 22 scientific journals.

MAWLANA FAZAL-UR-RAHMAN

He is a Pakistani politician and the chairman of the Association of Islamic Ulema. He is also the chairman of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), the coalition of political parties that ousted then Prime Minister Imran Khan in 2022 through a no-confidence motion. He was a member of the National Assembly from 1988 to 2018 and Leader of the Opposition from 2004 to 2007. He is a supporter of the Taliban government in Afghanistan.

MAWLANA MUHAMMAD TAYYAB TAHİRİ

He is a well-known religious scholar. He is the Chairman of the Islamic Tehreek Pakistan Party, commonly known as ITP, ITP was founded in 2012 by Syed Sajid Ali Naqvi.  

Adnan Akfırat

Adnan Akfirat is former representative to China and Member of International Relations Bureau of the Patriotic Party of Türkiye; Chairman of Turkish-Chinese Business Development and Friendship Association (Turk-Cin Is Der); visitor researcher of Shanghai University Turkish Studies Center and Shihezi University Silk Road Research Center. Mr. Akfirat has been living in Shanghai since 2011.

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