ISLAMABAD - Pakistan has once again assured China that its soil can never be used against the time-tested friend, foreign ministry officials said on Wednesday.
Senior officials at the ministry told The Nation that Islamabad had contacted Beijing to reiterate its commitment to friendship with China and peace in the friendly neighbour.
The development came after China’s official media quoted the head of the Xinjiang government as saying that the security along the China-Pakistan border would be tightened to prevent movement of the terrorists.
Xinjiang chairman Shohrat Zakir spoke at the regional People’s Congress unveiling the plans to stop “illegal movement” along the border.
Indian media unleashed a propaganda after Zakir’s statement claiming it was a signal that China was displeased with Pakistan for not containing terrorists who allegedly crossed into the troubled province.
Xinjiang province has been facing a separatist conflict. The Uyghur separatists claim their area have been occupied by China since 1949. They argue that the Second East Turkestan Republic was illegally brought under Chinese rule and hence deserved liberation.
A senior official at the foreign ministry said that China was contacted yesterday to assure them of Pakistan’s commitment towards peace in China and its solidarity.
“We have told them, as we have always done, that we will never allow anyone to cross into China for terrorism. We are not allowing our soil to be misused even against rival countries such as India, how can we do this to our best friend [China],” he said. The official said that since India was bent upon linking Pakistan to terrorism, “their [Indian] media is trying to highlight Shohrat Zakir’s statement as anti-Pakistan. We see nothing in it. They [China] have the right to secure their border.”
Recently, Chinese ambassador to Pakistan Sun Weidong had appreciated Pakistan’s efforts to defeat terrorism. He had also asked the world to acknowledge Pakistan’s sacrifices in the war against terrorism and assured China’s complete support.
China is investing close to $57 billion under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, which speaks volume about the two nations’ friendship.
Pakistan had also handed over control of Gwadar Port to China’s state-owned China Overseas Ports Holding in February 2013.
Gwadar Port - built by Chinese workers and opened in 2007 - is undergoing a major expansion since.
Another foreign ministry official said that Pakistan had clarified to China that infiltration was taking place from “our side.”
“We have proper security to check illegal movement. We do not allow anyone to cross the lines,” he said citing contacts with the Chinese diplomats.
International Affairs expert Huma Baqai said that India would not succeed in creating misunderstandings between Pakistan and China.
“Our friendship is too strong to fall to media reports from India. The two countries remain in contact on a regular basis so there can never be a misunderstanding,” she said.
Baqai said that Pakistan and China needed each other, which further strengthened their relations. “China has always helped us when needed at all forums including the United Nations,” she added.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Senator Abdul Qayyum said that Indian media did not let any chance slip, to target Pakistan.
“There was nothing in that statement from Shohrat Zakir which challenged our ties with China. They [China] take their internal decisions and are free to do as a sovereign country. Our friendship means, we respect their decisions,” he said.
Qayyum, a former Lt Gen, said that Pakistan would never betray Beijing as “China is our all-weather friend.”
“India can do whatever it can but our friendship is above their [India’s] conspiracies,” he added.
This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 12-Jan-2017 here.