By Dr. Raja Muhammad Khan

Sequel to recent terrorist attacks in the Kashgar area of Xinxiang autonomous region of China, the Indian and Western media has raised fingers at Pakistan. The well orchestrated media campaign is indeed part of destabilizing and defaming Pakistan, which this Trans-Atlantic Alliance and its counterpart (India) is carrying out ever since the occurrence of the incident of 9/11.  While dispelling the propaganda, Mr. Ma Zhauxu, spokesman of Chinese Foreign Ministry said that, “Pakistan is an important frontline state in the international fight against terrorism, and has made an outstanding contribution to battling terrorism.” Pakistan condemned the attacks and hoped that, it 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.”

It is worth mentioning that these attacks are neither a first attempt to exploit ethnic diversity of China, nor the last attempt to create a rift between two traditional and time tested friends.  The motives of East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM); a terrorist organization are nothing else, but to create internal instability in China and constraining its relation with neighbours and friends like Pakistan. Irrespective of the fact that who train elements of this organization, there is a need to understand that whose purpose this organization serves. Surely, neither Pakistan nor China would like strained bilateral relations. Their consensus on global and regional issues is an indication of such a fact.  Why should Pakistan desire an unstable China, a country whom it considers as its security guarantor?   It is to be highlighted that, some of terrorists of this organization were arrested and handed over to China by Pakistan since 1990s. This include; fourteen terrorists in 1997, seven in 2002 and nine in 2009. Besides, Pakistan Army killed the ETIM leader, Hasan Mahsum, in October 2003, and his successor Abdul Haq Turkestani was later killed in a drone attack in January 2010, on the information of Pakistan.

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While launching this negative propaganda campaign to create a rift between Pakistan and China, the planners perhaps forgotten that we have deepest understanding of what is happening and who all are doing that.   It should be remembered that, Sino-Pak relationship has stood the test and trial of the history, ever since the establishment of this astounding affinity. There has been convergence of views and both neighbours mutually support each other at all the tiers: bilateral, regional and global. Both countries are cooperating with each other on a number of bi-lateral projects currently underway. In addition, both countries continue to explore opportunities to cooperate on various projects of mutual benefit. Strengthening the Sino-Pak relationship is a pivotal pillar of the long-term foreign policy objectives of both countries, aiming at promotion of global peace, respecting each other’s sovereignty and building of a harmonious world of lasting peace and common prosperity.

One of the most significant features of Sino-Pak bilateral relationship is the respect for territorial sovereignty; none of the two have indulged in each other’s internal affairs. Unlike United States, China has not meddled in the domestic affairs of Pakistan, be of any nature. This indeed is a cornerstone of Chinese foreign policy and so is the case with Pakistan. Despite the ties that Chinese Communist Party (CCP) enjoys with all Pakistani political parties, China supports and firmly follows its relationship with the government of Pakistan. On its part, Pakistan considers that the East Turkistan Islamic Movement in its autonomous region, Xinjiang, is unlawful and has detrimental effects on the sovereignty of the China. It is sponsored by those, who promote terrorism in Pakistan in the form of TTP and other militants. Both are trained harboured and financed by same source.  On its part, Pakistan believes on “One China” policy and considers both Taiwan and Tibet as integral parts of China. Similarly, Chinese position on Kashmir has also been absolutely clear with Beijing reaffirming the disputed nature of Kashmir.

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During the 2010 visit in his address with the Joint Session of the Pakistani Parliament, Chinese Premier assured Pakistan an unflinching Chinese support on the issue of Kashmir as per UN resolutions. China always desired a peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue, as per the wishes of its people. Chinese Prime Minister also appreciated Pakistan’s role and sacrifices, in fighting out the terrorism. While pointing towards myopic global response towards Pakistan, the Chinese Premier said, “Pakistan has paid a heavy price in combating the terrorism. The fight against terrorism should not be linked with any religion or ethnic group and there should be no double standards.” Indeed, in conformity to the national interests of the peoples of both countries, this strategic partnership would promote, “peace, stability and prosperity of the region.” Furthermore, China also assured Pakistan for its wholehearted support to Pakistani position on the Afghan issue. Both countries believe that, ISAF forces should vacate the region and the Afghan issue should be resolved through a regional approach by amalgamating all Afghan groups and factions, and not through dictation of extra-regional powers.

On a recent episode of the US raid on Pakistani soil to kill Osama Bin Laden, China showed her unflinching support to Pakistan and emphasized United States to respect the sovereignty of Pakistan. Indeed, the repeated visits of leadership from both countries have proved that, “Pak-China relationship is higher than mountains and deeper than oceans.” In the wordings of the Pakistani Ambassador to China, “The entire Pakistani nation was deeply touched by China’s forthright, principled and staunch support to Pakistan, expressed by Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Jiang Yu, following the killing of Osama bin Laden. This aspect has been taken seriously by the super power otherwise having an agenda of global domination. Pakistan highly appreciated China’s reiteration of the principle that independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of any country should be respected; and its reaffirmation that Pakistan Government was determined in its resolve and strong in its action in the fight against terrorism.”

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This is a reality that, Pakistan’s relationship with China is not “based on expediency, but on careful assessment of Pakistan’s national interests.”  Under the transforming international environment, China is undertaking a number of Confidence Building Measures with connected regional and neighbouring countries. China has been holding security dialogues and regular meetings with Pakistan. Another added feature in overall Chinese diplomacy, in the prevailing times, is the conduct of military exercises with Pakistan.

On their part, the leadership of Pakistan and China must be cognizant of the fact that, their deep-rooted friendship bears a seriously grudge by powers trying dominate the region and globe simultaneously. In this regard,  the New York Times article of November 13, 1991, entitled, “Breaking China Apart” by Leslie Gelb, clearly states, "a threat to the territorial integrity of the Middle Kingdom" could become the "ultimate sanction" if Beijing did not behave. He was very blunt that, "Americans and others may take extraordinary measures" including "kindling separatism" aiming to pressurize the rising China. The covert game against Chinese rising power started since then and Pakistan being its time tested friend is being equally targeted, as it has refused to come to US terms. Besides, the overt and covert activities of CIA in and around Pakistani territory and Dali Lama’s US yatra are to be considered part of the same conspiracy.