China asks Pakistan to investigate Xinjiang terrorists list
By Shaukat Piracha
ISLAMABAD: The Chinese government has sent Islamabad a list and profile of terrorists and terrorist organisations of concern to the Government of China and wants them investigated by Pakistan.
Highly-placed sources told Daily Times that “the list of the first batch of identified Eastern Turkistan” terrorist organisations and terrorists compiled by the Ministry of Public Security, China, on December 15, 2003, has been sent through diplomatic channels to Pakistan, with a request to forward the list to the departments concerned for investigation.
Diplomatic sources say that Pakistan and China have been cooperating for a long time in the field of counter-terrorism. But they have intensified their efforts after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States. “To give concrete shape to this cooperation, the Foreign as well as Interior Ministers of the two countries met in 2002 and discussed counter-terrorism issues. Recently when President General Musharraf visited China, an extradition treaty was signed between the two countries,” sources explained.
“Pakistan has declared on many occasions that it will not allow its soil to be used to destabilise Xinjiang, the Chinese province that neighbours Pakistan’s Northern Areas”, sources said. They said that counter-terrorism operations have been taking place against the East Turkistan Islamic Movement for some time.
The recent list sent to Pakistan noted various aspects of at least two terrorist organisations, Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) and Eastern Turkistan Liberation Organization (ETLO) as well as terrorists attached to these organisations. It also claims that these organisations and terrorists are well connected to Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda outfits and receive training as well as funding etc.
Sources said the Chinese have provided details of the origin of these organisations, a brief description of the major acts of terrorism committed by them, their chief leaders, major sources of funds and personnel, as well as an outline of relations between them and other global terrorist organisations.
The Eastern Turkistan Liberation Organization (ETLO) is also known as the Eastern Turkistan National Party. It is said to be working for the founding of an Eastern Turkistan State in Xinjiang, China, by means of violence and terror. “The ELTO was founded in Turkey with its headquarters in Istanbul. The founder of the organization is Muhametemin Hazret and its main leaders include Kanat, Dolqun Isa and Ubul Kasimu”, says the Chinese document.
Among the major acts of terrorism committed by the ETLO are a series of violent terrorist crimes in China and across Central Asia, with some South and West Asian countries as the base camp for terrorist training and Central Asia as the forward position and bridgehead for terrorist operations. In May 1998, ETLO agents committed arson in a series of cases in Urumqi, capital city of Xinjiang. Between May and June 1998, Askar Tuhti, Ahmet, Balamjan Ahmet and some other ETLO members launched bomb attacks in the state of Oshskaya, Kyrgyzstan.
In 1999, the Kazakhstan government cracked a major criminal case in which four Uygurs were murdered with their bodies cut into pieces. Investigations showed that it was Abulimit Turxun, a chieftain of ETLO, who had committed the murder.
In May 2000, ETLO terrorists killed officers, including the Foreign Office director, of the Kirgiz Autonomous Prefecture of Kizilsu and injured a Deputy Chief of public security, after which they escaped to Kazakhstan and murdered several policemen. In September 2001, Abulat Tursun and Ahmet collected a large quantity of arms and weapons including 7 India-made handguns. The two later entered China from the Zham Port in Tibet but in February, 2003, the Chinese police uncovered the terrorist group they had developed.
On June 29, 2002, Arken Yakuf and Rahmutulla Islayil, both ETLO members, murdered Chinese diplomat Wang Jianping in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
The funding of the ETLO mainly comes from gift money from Al Qaeda outfits. They also make money through drug trafficking, arms smuggling, kidnapping and armed robbery. It mainly recruits young Xinjiang Uygurs under the age of 30 in Central Asia and convicted criminals and violent terrorists who have escaped from Xinjiang.
Relations with global terror networks are also mentioned in the Chinese document. Under the Taliban, the ETLO was allowed to run special military training camps at Mazar-i-Sharif and Khost. In 1999, when the armed forces of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan invaded the southern part of Kyrgyzstan, Muhametemin Hazret provided financial assistance of $600,000, one third of which was for the training of Eastern Turkistan terrorists, says the Chinese report.
The ETIM, also called as the East Turkistan Islamic Party or the Eastern Turkistan National Revolution Association, has been described as one of the most dangerous terrorist organisations among the Eastern Turkistan terrorist forces. “In 1993, Muhammad Tuhit and Abudu Rehman, both natives of Hotan, Xinjiang, founded the ETIM but it disintegrated later the same year. However, in 1997, Hasan Mahsum and Abudukadir Yapuquan ganged up with other East Turkistan activities to restore this organization. On September 11, 2002, the ETIM was put on the list of global terrorist organisations by the United Nations”.
As far as major acts of terrorism performed by the ETIM are concerned, the Chinese communication says that this organization has set up bases outside China to train terrorists and has been constantly sending agents to sneak into Chinese territory to mastermind terrorist and sabotage activities. Between early 1998 and the end of 1999, the ETIM ordered the Hotan Kulex terror gang to set up several secret lairs in Hotan Prefecture. It was responsible for the December 14 terrorist killings in Moyu County of Hotan in 1999, the February 4 robbery and murder case in Urumqi the same year and other acts of terror.
The chief leaders from the Uygur ethnic group are Hasan Mahsum, also known as Ashan Sumut, and Abdu Muhammad or Hasang Zunduliohe. Mr Mahsum was arrested in October 1993 by the Chinese police on the charge of performing acts of terror but he fled in 1997 and has since stayed in terrorist camps in Afghanistan to coach terrorists and plot deadly terrorist attacks in China, says the Chinese document.
The funding of the ETIM mainly comes from Al Qaeda outfits. The group also makes money through drug trafficking, arms smuggling, kidnapping, robbery and other organized crimes.
Relations between ETIM and other global terror organisations are noted. The Chinese government communication claims that the ETIM is closely linked to Mr Bin Laden’s Al Qaeda outfit and had got all-out support from the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.