Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday said that his country accepted China’s version regarding the treatment of Uighurs in Xinjiang province courtesy Islamabad’s “extreme proximity and relationship” with Beijing.

He added that China’s version 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,” he said.

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The Prime Minister, who was interacting with the Chinese journalists as Beijing marked the centenary of the ruling Communist Party, said it was hypocritical that attention was not being given to the human rights violations in “occupied Kashmir”, while the Uighur situation and Hong Kong was being highlighted.

“It is hypocritical. There are much worse human rights violations taking place in other parts of the world such as in occupied Kashmir. But Western media hardly comments on this,” The Dawn quoted Khan as saying.

Lauding the Communist Party of China (CPC) for its unique model, the Pakistan Prime Minister said: “Until now, we had been told that the best way for societies to improve was through Western democracy.”

Khan added the “CPC has introduced an alternative model and they have beaten all Western democracies in the way they have highlighted merit in society”.

Asserting that a society only succeeds when it has systems in place for holding the ruling elite accountable and ensuring meritocracy, Khan 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 added.

The Prime Minister Imran also praised Chinese President Xi Jinping and said “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 added.

Throwing light on Pakistan’s strong ties with China, he said Beijing “has always stood with us” whenever Islamabad “has been in trouble, politically or internationally”.

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Emphasizing that the ties between the two sides have only gotten stronger, Khan said “the people of China have a special place in the hearts of Pakistanis”.

“You see a strange great power rivalry in the region. The United States is wary of China and has formed a regional alliance called the ‘Quad’. We think that it is unfair of the US and Western powers to expect countries like Pakistan to take sides,” he added.

The Prime Minister also used the occasion to target neighbouring nation India.

“China is too strong. India will reap far greater benefits by engaging in trade with China rather than trying to act as a counter balance. If anyone is going to lose out, it will be India,” he said, adding Pakistan is committed to strengthening its relations with China, be it politically or economically.

The Pakistan Prime Minister’s remarks come as several other nations across the world have been criticizing China over its treatment of the Uighur population.

The United Nations had issued a statement last month on behalf of 42 nations urging Beijing to allow immediate, meaningful and unfettered access to Xinjiang for independent observers.

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