For The Christian Science Monitor: Gilgit, Pakistani-controlled Gilgit-Baltistan — Pakistan’s disputed Gilgit-Baltistan region, located above India’s Kashmir Valley and the site of a bitter war between India and Pakistan in the late 1990s, is today ground zero for a pending China pipeline to the Indian Ocean – a $46 billion project that represents Pakistan’s largest-ever foreign investment. It was also the site of elections earlier this month that saw Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League take a majority in the 24-seat assembly. Pakistan says…Continue Reading “Great game: Polls in Pakistani Kashmir smooth way for epic China pipeline”

Turning the Uyghur East

For The Revealer: KASHGAR, XINJIANG, CHINA — “U-yu-ghur, we say U-yu-ghur,” Hajji Abdulaziz* gently explains to me, as I take a seat at the front of his fabric shop, blankets and seat cushions in a dizzying array of colors, stacked from floor to ceiling. A smile cracks across his face, floating in the middle of short white facial hair, and he reaches for a piece of cardboard and a pen. “See, this is how it is written.” Abdulaziz slowly writes out the word Uyghur, in…Continue Reading “Turning the Uyghur East”

Chinese Uyghurs defy Ramadan ban

For Al Jazeera English: The government’s attempt to clamp down on religious expression has backfired among Uyghurs. Kashgar, China – Chinese authorities have imposed restrictions on Uyghur Muslims during the month of Ramadan, banning government employees and school children from fasting, in what rights groups say has become an annual attempt at systematically erasing the region’s Islamic identity. Chinese authorities have justified the ban on fasting by saying it is meant to protect the health of students, and restrictions on religious practices by government officials are…Continue Reading “Chinese Uyghurs defy Ramadan ban”