ISLAMABAD - Responding to Beijing’s demand, Islamabad has decided to ban three Islamic outfits for being allegedly involved in extremism in Chinese province Xinjiang (Sinkiang), the BBC reported Wednesday.
Citing Interior Ministry sources, the report said three foreign outfits – East Turkmenistan Islamic Movement, Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and Islamic Jihad Union – have been added to the list of banned organisations, as their members are carrying out extremism and anti-state activities in Xinjiang, where Muslims are in majority. Besides these three outfits, Abdullah Azam Brigade, 313 Brigade, Islam Mujahideen, and Tariq Brigade have also been banned. Following the development, total 59 organisations have been banned in Pakistan, the report said.
The Chinese government had informed Pakistani officials regarding the activities being carried out by these outfits, and the matter was also discussed by the military leadership of both nations.
The report further cited sources as saying that Chinese authorities have informed Pakistan that the organisations’ members have connections with their like-minded people in Xinjiang, and feared the outfits could exploit the natives for their subversive designs. These members are said to be hiding in FATA, Skardu areas and Pak-China bordering areas, according to the report.
The report also quoted sources as saying that Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan governments have also been engaged to gather details about ETIM and IMU. According to the details provided by Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan governments, more than 50 key members of the outfits are among the most wanted people. At least ten women, who train females for suicide bombing, are also among them.
The Islamic Jihad Union is said to be having members from Chechnya, Azerbaijan and Sudan.
The IM sources further confirmed that ETIM’s Abdul Rehman Yaldrauf is at the top of the most wanted people’s list while Surraya Asarnauf, who is said to be an expert trainer of suicide bombers, is leading the female list.
As the outfits have links with Al-Qaeda as well, there is possibility that their members could be waging war against Pakistan or international security forces in Afghanistan, the sources said adding Pak security forces have arrested some of their members during anti-terror actions in South Waziristan and FATA.
The government has beefed up security of the Chinese diplomatic mission and staff as a pre-emptive measure for best protection against any possible terror attack by these outfits, and the Security Division DIG has been tasked to ensure stringent security measures in this connection.
Beijing denies that unrest in the vast region bordering Central Asia – which has left scores dead – is due to ethnic tensions between the Uighurs and China’s majority Han.
The People’s Daily of the ruling Communist Party, has been on record for slamming the US government and media for what it said was its role in the violence.
In recent decades many Han Chinese have relocated to Xinjiang, which is rich in coal and gas, provoking friction.
The two communities tend to live in separate neighbourhoods in Urumqi, and a greater security presence could be seen in the Uighur area on Monday.
Xinjiang shares its vast border with Central Asia, Pakistan and Afghanistan and the millions of Uighurs who live there frequently complain about restrictions on religion and culture.
China has spent billions improving living standards for minorities in the region and authorities say they treat minorities there fairly.
In 2009, almost 200 people, mostly Han Chinese, were killed in deadly rioting in Xinjiang’s capital, Urumqi.