Hindu Vivek Kendra
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Terror camps exist in Pak, says China

Terror camps exist in Pak, says China

Author: Anil K. Joseph/Beijing
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: April 20, 2007

For the first time, Communist nation points finger at its 'all-weather' ally

In a major blow to Pakistan's counter-terrorism credentials, China has for the first time publicly acknowledged the existence of terrorist camps within the territory of its "all-weather" ally.

It said that some East Turkistan separatists, who have been fighting for decades to make oil-rich northwest China's Xinjiang province an independent state, received training at the terrorist camps in Pakistan.

The damning confirmation came in a court document in the trial of 37-year-old Huseyin Celil, a China-born Uygur-Canadian, who was on Thursday sentenced to life imprisonment by a Chinese court in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang, for "taking part in terrorist activities and plotting to split the country".

According to the court documents, Celil joined the East Turkistan Liberation Organisation (ETLO), a listed terrorist group active in central Asia, in November 1997 and was appointed as a senior instructor in Kyrgyzstan.

While there, Celil allegedly recruited several people to the ETLO and sent them to terrorist training camps on the Pamir Plateau in Pakistan, the court documents said.

Interestingly, the report came hours after Pakistan Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz left Beijing following talks with top Chinese leaders, including President Hu Jintao, during which he discussed counter-terrorism among other things.

During the talks between Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Aziz on Tuesday, the two sides had agreed to cement cooperation in campaigns against "East Turkistan" separatists in Xinjiang and combat cross-border crime.

Uygur militants, whom Beijing calls terrorists or separatists, have been struggling for decades to make oil-rich Xinjiang an independent state called East Turkistan.

Since the 9/11 terrorist strike against the United States, China has conducted counter-terrorism campaign in Xinjiang, arresting top leaders of the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), the main separatist group.

Celil was also active in ETIM, for which he helped raise funds, recruit members and organise training, Xinhua news agency said.

Citing court documents, it said that in 1997, Celil met ETIM's former head Hasan Mahsum, who was shot dead by the Pakistan Army in 2003, and worked directly under Mahsum's command.

In January, Chinese police busted a terrorist training camp in the Pamir Plateau in Xinjiang, killing 18 "terrorists" and arresting 17 others. In the raid, one Chinese police officer was killed and another wounded. PTI

Don't meddle, China tells Canada

China on Thursday asked Canada not to meddle with the country's internal affairs by protesting the sentencing of a Uygur-Canadian, who was given life term in prison.

The court found Celil guilty and convicted him on separatism and terrorism charges. He was sentenced to life on the separatism charge and 10 years imprisonment on the charge of terrorism.

He will serve life in prison and be deprived of his political rights for life, the Intermediate People's Court of Urumqi ruled.

This is the second court verdict in a case related to Xinjiang separatists.

Celil was given refugee status by Canada in 2001. He was arrested in Uzbekistan in 2006 and extradited to China soon afterward.

Reacting to protests from the Canadian Embassy here, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao told mediapersons that Beijing hopes that the Canadian Government will not interfere in the internal affairs of China.

"I think the Canadian side is clear about the position of the Chinese side. This is an internal affair of China and the Canadian side has no right to interfere with the case. We hope Canada can take a right position on the case," Liu said.

But a spokesman for the Canadian embassy in Beijing said Canadian diplomats had not been allowed into the courtroom when the verdict was announced.

"The Canadian Government is reviewing the verdict and will have a reaction in due course. We continue to be in very close contact with the family and offering them what assistance we can at this time," the spokesman said.

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