Beijing: China today said its “all weather ally” Pakistan has made a positive contribution to counter terrorism by launching air raids on terror camps in North Waziristan in which a number of Islamist militants from Xinjiang have been killed.
“Pakistan is victim of international terrorist activities. It has also sacrificed a lot for international counter-terrorism campaign and made positive contribution to that end,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told a media briefing here today.
She made the remarks in reply to a question on Pakistan Airforce strikes on militant hideouts in the tribal areas two days ago.
“There are reports of some East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) terrorists also killed in the strikes,” Chinese state-run Xinhua news agency said quoting Pakistan military officials.
The Pakistan Army had said over 50 “terrorists, mostly Uzbek” were killed in air strikes on their hideouts in North Waziristan, bordering Afghanistan, it said.
In all Pakistan 212 militants have been killed in the air raids in the last three days.
“As an all-weather strategic partner and good neighbour of Pakistan, China has supported and will support as always Pakistan’s anti-terrorism strategy based on its national situation,” Hua said.
The ETIM is believed to have regrouped its fighters in the lawless Waziristan tribal region with the help of the Pakistani Taliban and other militant groups in the volatile region, the Xinhua report said, making a rare reference about militants from Xinjiang taking shelter in Pakistan.
ETIM, which is fighting for the independence of the Xinjiang, is active in the province which is experiencing a spate of terrorist attacks.
The native Uygur Muslim population there is restive over the increasing settlements of Hans from other provinces leading to several riots.
The outfit has also carried out some of the most deadly attacks outside Xinjiang, including a suicide car attack at the Tiananmen square last year followed by knife attacks at railways stations in Chinese cities like Kunming and Guangzhou.