Zardari vows to crackdown on ETIM militants 'trained' in Pak

Zardari, who is is currently visiting Urmuqi, the capital of China's troubled northwest Xinjiang province as part of a three-day visit to the country, the seventh official tour in the last three years, underlined Pakistan's commitment to root out terrorism and extremism during talks with top officials.

During his meeting with the political leaders of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region led by Zhang Chunxian, the Secretary of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) Xinjiang, Zardari assured Beijing his country's fullest cooperation in defeating the evils of extremism, terrorism and secessionism, Pakistan's state-run APP news agency reported.
His meeting was significant as the local government of Kashghar city on August 1 blamed militants of the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) trained in Pakistan terror camps for carrying out attacks in the province.

Zardari, who arrived in Urmuqi yesterday to take part in the first China-Eurasia Expo being organised by China, is scheduled to meet Chinese Vice Premier Li Kaqing, who is expected to succeed Premier Wen Jiabao in 2013.

"We offer our territory and ports for Chinese trade," he said, adding that since Pakistan considers Kashghar as an intersection for facilitating and promoting communications of China with Pakistan and Central Asia and beyond, there was a need for establishing an air link between Kashgar and Pakistan.

He also stressed on developing an overland trade facilitation regime by integrated border management and to develop a trans-border economic zone between Xinjiang and Northern Pakistan, APP reported. Zardari underlined the need for enhancing connectivity by rail, road and air links, adding Pakistan wanted to reap full benefits of Kashgar Special Economic Zone.

He stressed on the immense scope for investments and joint ventures between Pakistan and Xinjiang in diverse fields including agriculture, food processing, minerals and energy sector.

"We are glad that Xinjiang and Kashgar are preparing themselves to connect China to Central Asia, to South and West Asia, to the Middle East, and to Europe," he said
The Pakistani President said Xinjiang’s economic development was extremely impressive, adding the development has provided an opportunity for Pakistani entrepreneurs to enhance bilateral and trade investment.

He said as Pakistan and China are good friends and strategic partners, there was need to enhance and further strengthen relations in education.

Zardari is the first foreign head of state to visit Urmuqi, which has been rocked by violence by separatists Uygur groupes.

Twenty-two people, including eight militants, were killed in the attacks for two days earlier this month targeting civilians from Han community at Kashghar town located close to Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK)

China for the first time openly blamed militants trained in Pakistan terror camps for violence in Xinjiang, which has witnessed ethnic tensions between Muslim Uyghurs and mainland Chinese Hans. About 200 people were killed in 2009 riots.

After the Kasghar incidents Pakistan has stepped up security cooperation with China to target ETIM militants and proposed integrated border management.

Xinjiang shares borders with PoK and Pakistan looks to China to set up special Economic Zones to develop the area.

These proposals reportedly figured in talks during the visit this month of Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar here.

Briefing the media after Zardari's meeting today, the President's spokesperson Farhatullah Babar said PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari would be visiting China later this week to attend an international political conference.

Zardari's delegation included Khar, Commerce Minister Makhdoom Amin Fahim, Defence Minister Ahmed Mukhtar, Petroleum and Natural Resources Minister Dr Asim Hussain, Chief Minister of Gilgit Baltistan Syed Mehdi Shah and 'Prime Minister' of PoK Chaudhary Abdul Majeed.

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