Xinjiang terror attack not good for Pakistan, says daily

August 3rd, 2011 - 1:05 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, Aug 3 (IANS) The terror attack in China’s Xinjiang region is “not good for Pakistan”, said a Pakistani daily as it noted that Beijing has claimed extremists trained here are responsible for it.

About 20 people were killed and more than 40 were wounded in two attacks in Xinjiang Uygur region over the weekend. The dead include seven terrorists, two of whom were killed Monday night.

An editorial in the Dawn Wednesday said: “The news from Xinjiang is not good for Pakistan, as China, our closest ally, has claimed extremists trained here are responsible for two deadly attacks in the restive region.”

Chinese officials claim the suspects received training in camps run by the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), an Uighur militant outfit reportedly linked to Al Qaeda.

The two attacks in China took place on succeeding days.

On Saturday night, two people hijacked a truck after killing its driver and drove it into a crowded street. They jumped out of the truck wielding knives and hacked stunned bystanders.

On Sunday afternoon, a group of people set fire to a restaurant and randomly attacked civilians with knives in downtown Kashgar. Police opened fire and shot dead five suspects.

The editorial said: “…if there is indeed a link to elements within Pakistan, it would not be surprising. Though it is believed that ETIM has been significantly weakened, hard-core militants are still said to shuttle between China and Pakistan as Xinjiang shares a border with this country”.

It added that in the past leaders of the group have been eliminated inside Pakistan.

“The Muslim Uighur people have genuine grievances against the Chinese state; due to the influx of Han Chinese, they feel they are being turned into a minority in their own land and that their culture is under attack.”

The region saw deadly ethnic violence between the Han and Uighur communities in 2009, in which nearly 200 people were killed.

The editorial went on to say that any community with grievances against the state of which it is a part has the right to demand its rights.

“The Uighurs are no exception. However, the moment this indigenous movement starts attracting external support - such as from Islamic militants in Pakistan - there is significant cause for concern.”

The Dawn editorial added that this development “reflects the fact that over the years Pakistan has allowed its territory to be used as a staging ground for religious extremists of all stripes”.

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