Pakistan Pledges to Attack Anti-China Militants

Posted September 27th, 2011 at 5:58 pm (UTC-5)
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Pakistan has pledged to crack down on Uighur militants who use Pakistan's tribal regions for training and launching attacks inside China.

Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik made the assurances Tuesday during a meeting with Chinese Public Security Minister Meng Jianzhu, who concluded a two-day visit to Pakistan. Meng's talks with high-level Pakistani officials focused on strengthening cooperation against terrorism and other crimes threatening the security of the two countries.

Malik said whoever is the enemy of China, such as ethnic Uzbek separatists and the East Turkistan Islamic Movement, is the enemy of Pakistan and “we will strike very hard against them.”

China accuses ethnic Uighurs, a mainly Muslim group living in far western Chinam, of involvement in Islamist terrorism and blames them for deadly attacks in its western Xinjiang region.

Meng, speaking alongside Malik, said China will extend Pakistan an additional $1.25 million to help it build the capacity of its police and other security agencies.

His visit came at a time when the already fragile U.S.-Pakistani ties have further deteriorated following U.S. allegations the Pakistani spy agency, the ISI, is supporting deadly attacks by Haqqani network militants against coalition forces in Afghanistan.

Islamabad rejects the allegations as baseless. Chairman of the Pakistani Senate's defense committee, Javed Ashraf Qazi, told VOA the accusations are harmful to both Pakistan and the United States. He said that “if we have to win the war against terror, then we must stand together.”

Pakistan's increasing contacts with China are seen by some Pakistani officials and independent observers as part of an effort to fill any possible diplomatic and economic gap should Washington decide to reduce its engagement with Islamabad.

Tuesday's meeting in Islamabad came a day after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton held talks with her Chinese counterpart on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly session in New York. Clinton called for China to begin a dialogue with the United States on Pakistan.