Islamabad: The rise of extremism in the province of Sinkiang and the abduction of Chinese expatriates by religious students in the federal capital is set to dominate the four-day Sino-Pak talks which started in Beijing yesterday.
A Pakistani delegation, headed by the Federal Interior Minister Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao, flew to the Chinese capital yesterday. The visit, which was delayed when Jamia Hafsa students kidnapped six Chinese women and a man, was approved following the release of the abductees, a source told Gulf News.
The vigilante brigade of Lal Masjid and Jamia Hafsa kidnapped six female Chinese expatriates and accused them of running a brothel in an upmarket area disguised as a beauty parlour and massage centre. The expatriates were detained for more than 24 hours inside the seminary.
They were later freed as a result of successful negotiations between the seminary's militant administration and government authorities. But the Chinese women were warned not to indulge in immoral activities.
Sherpao, prior to his departure, told journalists the issue of Sinkiang was expected to be discussed during a meeting of the Joint Working Group, adding Pakistan would also strike a deal with China to buy security equipment.
"The security bosses of the two countries will discuss a list of 22 militants wanted by Beijing. These alleged militants belong to the Islamic Movement of East Turkmenistan, which is fighting for the separation of Sinkiang province," the source added.
"China has given Pakistan a list of militants who might be hiding in the volatile tribal region and conveyed its reservations to Islamabad over the involvement of some 'hidden hands' in the rebel movement's affairs," he said.
According to the source, China had earlier asked Pakistan to bilaterally explore these 'hidden hands' as the movement was a major source behind the unrest in Sinkiang.
Sinkiang is an autonomous province in northwestern China bordering Mongolia and Kazakhstan. It is home to the Uighur community.
"A methodology to introduce a visa-free regime will also be discussed," the source added.