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Pak Army chief promises firm crackdown on Uyghur militants to protect China-Pak corridor

With Xinjiang tightening anti-terror law banning instigation of people to cross border to undergo terror training, Pakistan Army chief General Raheel Sharif has assured China of cracking down against militant outfits blamed for attacks in the volatile province. Pakistan will firmly crackdown on terrorist forces like the “East Turkestan Islamic Movement” (ETIM) and protect the security of “China-Pakistan Economic Corridor”, (CEPC) state-run China Military Online quoted him as saying during his meeting with China’s top military official Fang Fenghui in Urumqi, provincial capital of Xinjiang on Tuesday.

Fang is the member of China’s Central Military Commission (CMC), the highest military body and Chief of the Joint Staff Department of the CMC. Sharif was in Urumqi to attend the Quadrilateral Cooperation and Coordination Mechanism in Counter Terrorism by Afghanistan-China-Pakistan-Tajikistan Armed Forces. His assurance of firm crackdown followed China-Pakistan border police recently launching first joint patrols of the disputed Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) border amid reports that 114 Uyghurs Muslims from Xinjiang joined Islamic State in Syria.

Xinjiang, the home for Uyghurs who resented the increasing settlements of Hans from other provinces has witnessed violent attacks in recent years. China blamed ETIM, a separatist outfit linked to alQaeda for the attacks. Under pressure from China, Pakistan army has conducted military operations against ETIM training bases in the tribal areas bordering Pakistan and Afghanistan in recent months.

Xinjiang recently adopted new anti-terrorism rules stipulating reassessment of risk levels of prisoners before release and solitary confinement and education for ring leaders. The new rules stipulated that recruiting, training or transporting terror-related personnel will be regarded as carrying out terror activities, as will as organising or instigating others to illegally cross into another country to participate in terror activities or terror training, state-run Global Times reported.

The Quadrilateral Cooperation and Coordination Mechanism formed by China significantly includes Afghanistan which also shares borders with Xinjiang.

Afghanistan blames Pakistan for backing Taliban militants for carrying out violent attacks in Afghanistan.

General Sharif also assured the Chinese General of providing security for the USD 46 billion for the CEPC in the backdrop of rent attack on Chinese workers in Karachi. Fang told Sharif that China and Pakistan are all-weather strategic partners. The two sides are stepping up their all-round cooperation according to the series of important consensuses reached by President Xi Jinping and Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain.

Fang said that the “quadrilateral mechanism” is the first security cooperation mechanism established by the militaries of regional countries, and the mutual support between Chinese and Pakistani armed forces is critical for safeguarding regional peace and stability.

Fang stressed that China is willing to deepen the cooperation with Pakistan in all areas under the “quadrilateral mechanism” framework, enhance capability building, provide security products for the peace and development of the region, and push the mechanism forward.


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