United Kingdom has now placed East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), a Chinese terror group based in Pakistan, in its list of terror organisations – a move that has pleased Beijing immensely.
The move coincides with another report in China’s state-run People’s Daily Online that Chinese and Pakistani troops are now conducting joint patrolling of the China-Pakistan border at Xinjiang province.
Xinjiang is in China’s west bordering Pakistan to its south and is a restive region. Both through propaganda and force, China suppresses religious rights in the majority Muslim region.
Analysts claim that this is the reason why some Uighurs – the ethnic Muslim community in Xinjiang – are fleeing the region to join Islamic State. Their route is through Pakistan – a country which has an ‘office’ of almost every major Islamic terror group in the world.
People’s Daily Online reportedly published pictures showing Chinese and Pakistani troops foot patrol along the frontier. Since 2014, the border has been guarded by Chinese troops.
ETIM has training camps in Pak-occupied Kashmir and other tribal areas. It was China’s pressure to take action against ETIM that prompted Pakistan to take military action against terrorists in tribal areas.
The security of the region is important because the USD 46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project runs through Pak-occupied Kashmir and connects Gwadar near Karachi to Kashgar in Xinjiang.