Kashgar not to affect Pak-China ties
Mohammad Jamil


Hours after Muslim separatists’ deadly attack last Sunday in Kashgar (Xinjiang region), Islamabad had asseverated that it would extend full cooperation to Beijing against terrorists involved in acts of violence.

“Pakistan is fully confident that the patriotic people of Xinjiang autonomous region of the People’s Republic of China and, in particular, Kashgar as well as the Chinese government will succeed in frustrating evil designs of the terrorists, extremists and separatists”, foreign office spokesperson Tehmina Janjua said. The next day, ISI chief, Ahmed Shuja Pasha went to Peking to express solidarity with China that Pakistan will continue to extend its full cooperation and support to the Government of the People’s Republic of China against the ETIM. The US and India highlighted the acts of terrorism in Xinjiang and presaged that the relations between Pakistan and China could be affected by such acts. There is a perception that they have made inroads in militant organizations and are trying to spoil relations between Pakistan and China. But they will never succeed.

China’s foreign ministry’s spokesperson Ma Zhauxu dispelled any impression that Pakistan’s agency was involved. In his press briefing he stated that “Pakistan is an important frontline state in the international fight against terrorism, and has made an outstanding contribution to battling terrorism. China and Pakistan are friendly neighbours, and we have developed healthy cooperation in the anti-terror area,” spokesperson Ma said. Though Indian media carried stories that militant members of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement were involved in the attack were trained in Pakistan, yet Chris Buckley or Reuters reckoned that it is unlikely because the group appeared so weak. Anyhow, Pakistan has in the past apprehended and handed over the suspects whenever China provided the information, and Pakistan would ensure that remnants of those perpetrators are eliminated so that they cannot use Pakistani soil to carry on heinous activities against China, Pakistan’s all-weather friend. Pakistan is cognizant of the fact that stability and integrity of Pakistan is cornerstone of China’s foreign policy, and Pakistan has also stood with China on the issue of Taiwan. Sino-Pakistan relations began in 1950 when Pakistan was among the first countries to break relations with Taiwan and recognize the People’s Republic of China. Later in 1954, Pakistan joined South East Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) and the next year Baghdad Pact which was renamed as Central Treaty Organization (CENTO) after revolution in Iraq.

The primary objective of these pacts was to contain Communist countries and China was indeed a communist country. But despite Pakistan’s joining defence pacts with the West, China always valued Pakistan’s sentiments vis-ŕ-vis snapping relations with Taiwan. It will not be an exaggeration to say that stability of Pakistan is cornerstone of China’s policy. When Chinese engineers were kidnapped and killed in Pakistan, China remained firm in its resolve to continue with the projects to make Pakistan self-reliant and strong. But there seems to be a conspiracy to create wedge between Pakistan and China through devious plans and actions, but conspirators would never succeed in their efforts. China, of course, was unhappy over the activities of the Taliban in 1990s who tried to export their version of religion or revolution to other countries including China’s Sinkiang province. However, Chinese leadership was aware that the Taliban leadership was not listening to the Pakistani leadership’s advice to abstain from such activities that would annoy its neighbours. In fact, western countries try to propagate against China and criticize China for its human rights record and also for sternly dealing with the miscreants and detractors of Chinese system.

Like many other countries with different ethnic groups, China has also a problem but that is blown out of proportions. As reported in the press in July 2009, thousands of angry ethnic Chinese wielding clubs roamed Urumqi the capital city of Xinjiang territory after deadly riots. International media had highlighted this conflict though there were similar riots and rather more frequent in India, Pakistan and elsewhere in the world. Nevertheless, the unrest had prompted Chinese President Hu Jintao to fly home from Italy, where he had been scheduled to attend the meeting of the Group of Eight leading nations. Wall Street Journal in its story had stated: “Chinese President’s departure from the high-profile international event underlined the severity of the challenge the Xinjiang violence presents to China’s leadership. But that was Chinese internal matter and could take all measures to establish writ of the state. China is, indeed, a peace-loving country and it has neither bullied its smaller neighbours nor has it ever tried to extend hegemony over other countries. This is the reason that it has opted to seek political and negotiated settlement of the Taiwan issue although it has left no doubt in any one’s mind that it will not hesitate to go to any extent to retrieve its territory that was separated by Chiang Kai Shek through a conspiracy.

Anyhow, China’s policy of having friendly relations with all its neighbours should not be misunderstood, as it has the capability and the resources to give adequate response to those harbouring evil designs against it. And the tolerance China shows to other countries is in fact its strength. So far as Pakistan is concerned, China always supported Pakistan, and of course Pakistan has also supported China over the issue of Hong Kong and Taiwan and condemned the machinations against China in the name of Tibet. Pakistan has always appreciated and expressed its gratitude for the continued Chinese help for the progress and prosperity of Pakistan. China has helped Pakistan in variety of projects including Gwadar Port Project and Saindak Copper Project in Balochistan. Earlier, Machine Tool Factory of Karachi and Heavy Mechanical Complex, Taxila were also established with China’s help. China has extended full cooperation to make Pakistan self-reliant by providing know-how with a view to strengthening and ensuring territorial integrity and sovereignty of Pakistan.

Beijing and Islamabad are involved in joint production of JF-17 Thunder aircraft, which has the most sophisticated avionics. The launch of JF-17 Thunder aircraft production project was described as a giant leap towards indigenization, which will help maintain minimum level of defensive deterrence in both conventional and unconventional fields, as it wants peace with dignity and honour. With US maneuvers in the Chinese sea and enhancing the US troops in Afghanistan, China is wary of ever-increasing presence of US and NATO forces in the region. Recently, talking to reporters during his visit to Islamabad Chamber of Commerce, Chinese Ambassador Lou Zhaohui had said his country was concerned over the increasing US influence in the region adding that the number of foreign forces was too high in the region. “We are cooperating with the US and Pakistan in the fight against terror and were in touch with Pakistani officials to chalk out a joint anti-terrorism strategy”, Chinese ambassador had said.