Monday, August 1, 2011



The US and India are not the only countries, which have been pressing Pakistan to "do more" against jihadi terrorists operating from sanctuaries in Pakistani territory. China too has been exercising similar pressure on the Pakistani authorities to "do more" against Uighur and other terrorists operating from Pakistani territory, who not only pose a threat to the security of Chinese nationals living and working in Pakistan, but also to the internal security of the Chinese-controlled Xinjiang province.

2. The Chinese concern is due to three reasons: firstly, the threats to the lives of Chinese nationals. There have already been five attacks on Chinese nationals in Pakistan in recent years. Three of these were in Balochistan and one each in the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) and the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). Four of these incidents resulted in Chinese fatalities. Two of these incidents took place after the Commando action in the Lal Masjid in Islamabad between July 10 and 13,2007. Three Chinese nationals were killed by unidentified elements in Peshawar and Chinese engineers travelling by bus in Hub in Balochistan had a miraculous escape when there was an explosion targeting their bus. In addition to these incidents, there was one incident of kidnapping of six Chinese women working in a massage parlour of Islamabad by some women students of the girls' madrasa of the Lal Masjid. They were subsequently released.

3. Secondly, the failure of the Pakistani Police to make any progress in the investigation into these incidents and arrest and prosecute those responsible. Thirdly, the failure of the Pakistani intelligence agencies to locate and neutralise Uighur terrorists belonging to the Islamic Movement of East Turkestan (IMET) who, according to the Chinese, have taken sanctuary in Pakistan.

4.In its issue of August 11,2007, the "Daily Times" of Lahore quoted Mr.Liu Guchang, the then Chinese Ambassador in Moscow, as stating as follows while briefing the media on a six-nation counter-terrorism exercise of the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation (SCO), which was held in Xinjiang in August 2007: “Judging from recent years the most real terrorist threat mainly comes from the East Turkestan terrorist forces active both within China and beyond its borders."

5.While there has been equal pressure from the US and China to do more against jihadi terrorists operating from Pakistani territory, the Pakistani Government has been more responsive to Chinese concerns and more worried about the impact of the Chinese concerns on Pakistan's strategic relationship with China. While former President Musharraf avoided any action against the pro-Taliban elements operating from the Lal Masjid for six months, the Chinese expression of concern and unhappiness over the failure of the police to prevent the kidnapping of six Chinese women by the students of its girls' madrasa and over the slanderous campaign of the Masjid projecting Chinese women working in Islamabad as prostitutes made him act immediately and order a commando raid into the Masjid on July 10,2007.

6.One saw a similar response in the case of Abdullah Mahsud, the pro-Taliban tribal leader from South Waziristan, who was helping the Neo Taliban in its operations against the British and American forces in Afghan territory. Repeated expressions of concern over his activities in Afghanistan from Pakistani territory by the officials of the Hamid Karzai Government did not elicit any response from the Pakistani security forces. But a Chinese expression of concern over the threat posed by him to the lives of Chinese nationals in Pakistani territory made the Pakistani security forces and intelligence agencies trace him to a hide-out in Zhob in Balochistan on July 23,2007, and kill him. While the Government claimed that he blew himself up when surrounded by the security forces, his followers alleged that he was shot dead at point-blank range by the security forces.

7.The Chinese concern over the threat he and his followers could pose to the lives of Chinese nationals in the wake of the jihadi anger against the Chinese over their suspected role in prompting Musharraf to act against the Lal Masjid could be traced to an incident in October,2004, when some of his followers had kidnapped two Chinese engineers working in the Gomal Zam Dam project in the South Waziristan-Tank area. In a rescue mission mounted by Pakistani commandoes , five of the kidnappers and one of the Chinese engineers were killed. The other engineer was rescued.

8. In a subsequent interview, Abdullah Mahsud said that while he did not have anything against the Chinese, he ordered their kidnapping in order to force Musharraf to stop military operations against the pro-Taliban elements in South Waziristan. He said: "I am not against the Chinese people. I realise that China is Pakistan's best friend. But desperate people do desperate things. That is the reason I ordered the kidnapping of the Chinese engineers. I felt this act would hurt the Musharraf Government the most."

9.While the actual kidnappers were killed in the commando action, Abdullah Mahsud, who ordered the kidnapping, remained at large without the Pakistani security forces taking any action against him. A strong expression of Chinese concern after the Commando action in the Lal Masjid over the likely threats to Chinese nationals from him made the Pakistani security forces run him down and kill him.

10.Despite this, the Chinese concerns remained high because the Pakistani intelligence agencies and security forces were not able to trace and neutralise the Uighur members of the IMET, who have been operating from Mir Ali in North Waziristan along with the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU).

11.Embarrased by the failure of the intelligence agencies and the security forces to trace and neutralise the Uighur terrorists and to effectively protect the Chinese nationals, the Pakistani authorities were alleging that unidentified foreign elements were instigating these attacks. Even then Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz alleged while talking to journalists on August 8,2007 at Kalla Kahar, near Chakwal, that there was an "international conspiracy" behind the attacks on the Chinese nationals.

12.It was reported that the security of Chinese nationals in Pakistan and action against the Uighur terrorists was the main subject discussed by Mr.Cui Tiankai, the then Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister, during a visit to Pakistan from August 6 to 8,2007. Among others, he called on Gen.Musharraf, Shaukat Aziz and then Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri.

13.The local media reported that Musharraf condemned the attacks on Chinese nationals and assured the Chinese Government of Pakistan’s commitment to bring the perpetrators to justice. Mr.Shaukat Aziz was quoted as telling the Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister that the security and safety of Chinese people working in Pakistan was of paramount importance for Pakistan and that the Government was taking stern measures to ensure their safety. He reportedly alleged that harming Chinese nationals in Pakistan was a “deliberate act of our adversaries to create mistrust between the two counties”, but assured that any such attempt would be dealt with an “iron hand”.Mr.Kasuri expressed deep sorrow over an incident in which three Chinese nationals were killed in Peshawar and assured that the Government was investigating the matter. Additional security measures had been taken for the security of Chinese nationals, he reportedly said.

14.On August 6,2007,Syed Kamal Shah, the then Pakistani Interior Secretary, and Mr.Luo Zhaohui, the then Chinese Ambassador, signed an MOU to form a joint task force for improving security for Chinese nationals in Pakistan, and for reviewing investigations made till then into the past attacks. After the signing ceremony, then Interior Minister Aftab Sherpao noted the recent “sad incidents” against the Chinese in Pakistan. “The agreement will give us leverage for a quick response on any such security issues which crop up and where the lives of Chinese nationals are in danger,” he said. The task force was to consist of senior officials from the Interior and Foreign ministries, the National Crisis Management Cell and top Chinese diplomats in Pakistan.

15.During a visit to Beijing in May 2008, Rehman Malik, Pakistan’s Interior Minister, said: “Enemies of China are the enemies of Pakistan” and his country would spare no effort in future as well in eliminating elements posing a threat “to our most trusted ally.” Responding to a question at a press conference, Rehman Malik said: “Let me tell you first that China is a great friend of Pakistan, we treat like a family and any enemy of China is enemy of Pakistan. The cooperation in the field of anti-terrorism is already at high and greater level and the cooperation in this regard is visible and will continue to be visible in future as well. Our forces have already taken action against the IMET, as we treat it not only as the enemies of China but of Pakistan too.”

16.He said that in 2002, the gang leader of the IMET Masoom was killed, while the other so-called gang leader Haq had also been killed recently by “our law enforcing agencies. I confirm that.” He said that he assured “his Chinese brothers and sisters” that if any activity of the IMET came to his knowledge, the Pakistani Government would act with heavy hands. “We will take strict action, rather very strict action against them.”

17.Malik said that there was a small pocket near the Pak-Afghan border, which was highly inaccessible as it was surrounded by rough mountains where these elements had been operating in connivance with Uzbeks, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Al-Qaeda, etc. “When we launched the operation against terrorists, the priority was to eliminate them.” He claimed that the back of the IMET had been broken and weakened.

18.Replying to a debate on the budgetary demands of the Ministry of the Interior in the National Assembly on June 24, 2009, Malik said: “Due to the efforts of the President and the Prime Minister, the Chinese Government has provided $290 million for capacity building of our security forces.”

19. The decision of the Chinese authorities to assist Pakistani capacity-building in counter-terrorism was officially conveyed to Malik when he visited Beijing and Shanghai from June 9 to 12, 2009. The visit was preceded by the Pakistan Government’s handing over to the Chinese of 10 members of the Uighur diaspora in Pakistan despite objections from the Amnesty International, which feared that these Uighurs might be executed by China without proper trial. The Pakistani authorities, who officially revealed the handing-over on June 5, 2009, as reported by the "News" of June 6, claimed that these Uighurs, who were rounded up during the Pakistan Army's counter-insurgency operations in the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), belonged to the IMET.

20.The "News" of June,6, 2009, reported as follows: "According to some sources in Islamabad, the Chinese militants were extradited despite opposition by the Amnesty International. In March 2009, Tim Parritt, Deputy Director of the Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Programme, had observed that whatever these militants were accused of, the risks posed to them were extremely grave, if forcibly returned to China. He had maintained that under the international law, states were obliged not to expel, return or extradite any person to a country where they risk torture or other ill-treatment. However, the Pakistani authorities insist that all those who had been extradited to Beijing were involved in terrorist activities both in China and in Pakistan and had also developed links with al-Qaeda network in the tribal areas of Pakistan. They said the fact that the IMET militants had extended their network of terrorist activities to Pakistan was evident from a threat they had conveyed to the Chinese Embassy in Islamabad, saying they intended to kidnap Chinese diplomats and consular officers stationed in the Pakistani federal capital with a view to highlighting their cause. The Chinese mission subsequently informed the Pakistani authorities in a letter that some members of the IMET had already reached Islamabad and planned to kidnap their staffers from the federal capital. The letter reportedly pointed out that terrorist groups located in Pakistan, including al-Qaeda, had been providing support to the IMET activists for the likely kidnappings. Subsequent investigations had established that the anonymous threat was issued by none other than the East Turkistan Islamic Movement and that the would-be kidnappers had first travelled to Jalalabad in Afghanistan to finalise their plans."

21. During his stay in Beijing, Malik had met State Councillor and Minister for Public Security Meng Jianzhu, the Communist Party of China Politburo Standing Committee member Zhou Yongkong and the Chinese Vice-Foreign Minister Wu Dawei, who hosted a dinner for him. There were no reports of any meeting with President Hu Jintao or Prime Minister Wen Jiabao.

22.Talking to pressmen at Beijing, Malik said: "We have signed a number of agreements to build the capacity of our law enforcing agencies. We have signed agreements worth $ 300 million to acquire state of the art equipment to combat terrorism. The first consignment of these most needed equipment would be reaching Pakistan within three weeks. We want to ensure that our law enforcing agencies are well equipped, so that they could thwart with full force militancy. The equipment Pakistan needed included most modern mobile scanners that can detect hidden explosives and drugs. Initially, we would start employing these equipment in the metropolitan cities under threat of terrorism, like Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi and then gradually we plan to cover the entire country. "

23.After the US raid on the hide-out of Osama bin Laden at Abbottabad on May 2,2011, the Chinese had strongly defended Pakistan against US suspicions of possible complicity with OBL, which enabled him to stay in his hide-out for over five years and praised its contribution to the war against terrorism. Past Chinese concerns over Pakistan’s perceived inaction against the terrorists of the IMET operating from sanctuaries in North Waziristan, which had remained unexpressed for some months after the visit of Rehman Malik to Beijing in 2009, have been revived after the recent incidents of violence during July in the interior areas of the Chinese-controlled Xinjiang province.

24. Initially, these revived concerns found expression in the comments of Chinese counter-terrorism experts working for well-known Chinese think tanks, but now the expression of these concerns is finding its way into the columns of party-controlled media such as the “Global Times”. After the two incidents in Kashgar near the Pakistan border on July 30 and 31,2011, the “Global Times” wrote as follows on August 1: “A group of religious extremists led by militants trained in overseas terrorist camps was behind the weekend attack on civilians in China's far-western Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region that left 6 dead and 15 others wounded, the local government said Monday. The initial probe found that the group's leaders had learned how to make explosives and firearms in overseas camps of the terrorist group "East Turkistan Islamic Movement" (ETIM) in Pakistan before entering Xinjiang to organize terrorist activities, the government of Kashgar City said in an online statement.”

25.It added: “Pan Zhiping, a researcher with the Central Asia Studies Institute under the Xinjiang Academy of Social Sciences, called the IMET "the most violent and dangerous" among the "East Turkistan" separatist forces. He said the organization is based somewhere along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

26.“The IMET traditionally trains its members for suicide bombings and car bombings before sending them to Xinjiang. But today more are using the Internet to penetrate the border to spread bomb-making techniques, Pan and other long-time Xinjiang observers said.

27.“The Sunday attack was the second violent case in Kashgar over the weekend. On Saturday night, two people hijacked a truck after killing the driver and drove it into crowded street. The suspects then jumped out of the truck and hacked bystanders randomly. Eight civilians were killed while 27 others were injured. One of the suspects was killed in the clash while the other was apprehended. The local government did not specifically label Saturday's attack as an act of terrorism,” the “Global Times” further added.

28.According to well-informed Pakistani Police sources, after a phone call from President Hu Jintao to Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, Lt.Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha, Director-General of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), has been rushed to Beijing to address the Chinese concerns regarding the revival in the activities of the IMET from Pakistani sanctuaries in the weeks before an international Expo to be held in Urumqi from September 1 to 5.

29.The IMET operates in close co-ordination with Al Qaeda, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and the Islamic Jihad Union from hide-outs in North Waziristan. Despite pressure from the US, the Pakistani Army and the ISI have till now been disinclined to act against the terrorist sanctuaries in North Waziristan. It remains to be seen whether the Chinese pressure will make them act.

30.The Chinese have never been responsive to India’s concerns over the anti-India terrorist infrastructure in Pakistani territory. For many years, till the 26/11 terrorist strikes in Mumbai, China prevented the anti-terrorism Monitoring Committee of the UN Security Council from declaring the Jamaat-ud-Dawa and the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) as terrorist organisations. It used to support Pakistan’s contention that the JUD was a humanitarian organisation. It changed its stance only after 26/11.

31.Despite China’s insensitivity to India’s concerns over the anti- Indian terrorist infrastructure in Pakistani territory, India should utilise the recent Chinese concerns to underline to the Chinese the threat which they face as a result of their double-standards on the question of the terrorist infrastructure in Pakistani territory. ( 2-8-11)

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail: . Twitter: @SORBONNE75)



The Chinese authorities have expressed the suspicion that the recent acts of violence in the Chinese-controlled Xinjiang province might have been carried out by the Islamic Movement of Eastern Turkestan (IMET) from its sanctuaries in North Waziristan in Pakistan.

2. According to well-informed Pakistani Police sources, President Hu Jintao had rung up President Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan to express his concern over the stepped-up activities of the IMET in the Xinjiang province a month before the holding of the international expo in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang, from September 1 to 5.

3. Following this, Lt.Gen.Ahmed Shuja Pasha, the Director-General of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), is rushing to Beijing to discuss with the Chinese authorities their concerns over likely threats to the Urumqi Expo from IMET elements operating from sanctuaries in North Waziristan. The IMET is one of the affiliates of Al Qaeda.

4. A backgrounder on the IMET prepared by me in March,2010, in connection with the international expo held in Shanghai last year is annexed. (1-8-11)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail: .Twitter: @SORBONNE75 )



(a).On July 25,2008, a private security consultancy agency of the US claimed to have intercepted a three-minutes Olympics-specific video message by one Sayfallah, who claimed to belong to an organisation called the Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP) in which he threatened acts of violence directed against the Olympics. He claimed that his organisation was responsible for the explosions in buses in Shanghai in May,2008, and in Kunming in Yunnan in July, 2008. He said that his group was planning to attack Chinese cities "using previously unused methods". He added: " This is our last warning to China and the rest of the world. The viewers and athletes, especially those who are Muslim, who plan to go to the Olympics should change their plans and not go to China. The Turkistan Islamic Party plans military attacks on people, offices, arenas, and other activities that are connected to the Chinese Olympic Games." The threat was not carried out.

(b). The CBS News of the US reported on April 15, 2009, that the media wing of the IMET called Sawt al Islam had disseminated a 43-minute video entitled “Persistence and preparation for Jihad”. To quote the CBS:" It includes a statement by the group’s current leader Sheikh Abul Haq, as well as its late leader Hassan Makhdum, whose alias is Abu Mohammed al Turkistani. Abul Haq said
“jihad” was a duty that falls on all Muslims just like any other religious duty. He also pledged more attacks against Chinese forces.”

(c). In a video posted on an Islamist web site on August 1,2009, Abdul Haq al-Turkistani, who was described by the web site as the leader of the Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP), urged Muslims to attack Chinese interests to punish Beijing for what he described as massacres against Uighur Muslims. He said: "They ( the Chinese) must be targeted both at home and abroad. Their embassies, consulates, centers and gathering places should be targeted. Their men should be killed and captured to seek the release of our brothers who are jailed in Eastern Turkistan ... Our duty, we in Eastern Turkistan, is to continue to resist without desperation." He accused China of committing "barbaric massacres" against Muslims in East Turkistan....Abdul-Haq's face was digitally blurred in the Arabic-language version of the video which also contained a collage of footage of the violence in the region. He was speaking with an assault rifle to his right and what appeared to be a pistol pouch strapped to his shoulder.


The first signs of Islamic fundamentalism appeared in Uzbekistan in December 1991, when some unemployed Muslim youth seized the Communist Party headquarters in the eastern city of Namangan, to protest against the refusal of the local Mayor to permit the construction of a mosque. The protest was organised by Tohir Abdouhalilovitch Yuldashev, a 24-year-old college drop-out, who had become a Mulla, and Jumaboi Ahmadzhanovitch Khojaev, a former Soviet paratrooper who had served in Afghanistan and returned from there totally converted to Wahabism. Yuldashev and Khojaev, who later adopted the alias Juma Namangani, after his hometown, became members of the Uzbekistan branch of the Islamic Renaissance Party (IRP). Following the IRP's refusal to support their demand for the establishment of an Islamic State in Uzbekistan, they formed their own party called the Adolat (Justice) Party, which was banned by President Islam Karimov. They then fled to Tajikistan. While Namangani fought in the local civil war, Yuldashev went to Chechnya to participate in the jihad there. In 1995, he went to Pakistan, where the jihadi organisations gave him shelter in Peshawar. From there, he re-named the Adolat Party as the IMU and was allegedly in receipt of funds from the intelligence agencies of Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. After Osama bin Laden shifted to Jalalabad from Khartoum in Sudan in 1996, Yuldashev crossed over into Afghanistan. After the end of the civil war in Tajikistan, Namangani settled down for a while as a road transport operator. He was also allegedly involved in heroin smuggling from Afghanistan. Subsequently, he too crossed over into Afghanistan and joined the IMU and became its leader. The IMU allegedly earns a major part of its revenue from heroin smuggling. After the Taliban captured Kabul in September, 1996, Namangani and Yuldashev held a press conference at Kabul at which they announced the formation of the IMU with Namangani as the Amir and Yuldashev as its military commander. In 1998, the IMU joined the International Islamic Front (IIF) of Al Qaeda. The IMU's initial goal was described as the overthrow of Uzbek President Islam Karimov and the establishment of an Islamic State in Uzbekistan. It changed its name to the Islamic Party of Turkestan (IPT) in June 2001, and called for the establishment of an Islamic Caliphate in Central Asia consisting of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and China's Xinjiang province. It was recruiting members from all these areas, including Uighurs from Xinjiang. Initially, its recruits were trained by the Arab instructors of Al Qaeda in the training camps in Afghan territory and after 9/11 by Chechen and Pashtun instructors of the Taliban in the South Waziristan area of Pakistan. Despite its 2001 change of name as IPT, it continued to be known in Uzbekistan as the IMU. The Uighur members of the IMU constituted themselves into a separate organization in June 2001 and started calling themselves the Islamic Movement of East Turkestan (IMET) or Islamic Party of Turkestan or the Turkestan Islamic Party.

The IMET sporadically brings out a journal called “Turkistan al-Muslimah (Muslim Turkistan)”. It gives the name of the organization as the Hizb al-Islami al-Turkistani (Turkistan Islamic Party - TIP). The first issue of the journal, which was published in July 2008 by al-Fajr Institute for Islamic Media, described its objective as revealing “the real situation of our Muslim nation in East Turkistan, which is living under the occupation of the Communist Chinese and to disclose the falsehood of the Chinese Government, exposing its crimes [against Muslims] to the world… [we want the] world to understand our cause and rights, that we are seeking our freedom and independence and to be ruled by God’s Shari’a” .

The journal published an interview in two parts with Abdul Haq al-Turkistani, its Amir. In the interview, he gave details of his early life and religious education and described how he traveled to Afghanistan from Xinjiang via Pakistan. He also referred to the Taliban training camps he and his Uighur followers had attended in Khost, Bagram, Kabul and Herat before 9/11. He mentioned that originally the IMET was part of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) before it separated from the IMU and constituted itself as an independent organization representing the Uighurs. Before the Olympics of August,2008, the IMET used to issue threats of biological, chemical and conventional attacks on targets in China, but it was not able to carry out its threats.

The journal describes jihad as an Islamic duty and among the contributors of articles are one Abu Khaled Saifallah, Abu Jaafar al-Mansour and Abu Umar al-Farooq. In his article, Abu Ja’afar al-Mansour warned China as follows: “China beware… take a lesson from those who preceded you, the Americans and [their] allies, who were defeated badly in Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia. Do not walk on the same road and do not use the [same] approach in prejudices [against] God’s subjects and in looting their wealth and fortunes, and in shedding the blood of the children…as America is doing in Iraq and Afghanistan” . The articles carried by the journal showed the IMET’s admiration for
Abu Mus’ab al-Zarqawi and Omar al-Baghdadi in Iraq and Abdul Malik Droukdel (a.k.a. Abu Mus’ab Abdul Wadood) in Algeria.


After it separated from the IMU, the IMET was headed as Amir by Hassan Mahsum also known as Hasan Makhdoom and also as Abu Muhammad al-Turkistani. He was killed by the Pakistani security forces in South Waziristan on October 2,2003. He was succeeded by Abdul Haq al-Turkistani also known as Maimaitiming Maimaiti as the Amir in 2004. According to the US Treasury Department, which designated him as a global terrorist in April 2009,Haq was appointed as a member of Al Qaeda’s Shura Majlis, or executive council, in 2005. The UN also designated Haq as a terrorist leader. In June 2009, Haq was reported to have attended a meeting with Baitullah Mehsud, the then Amir of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Sirajuddin Haqqani of the Afghan Taliban, and Abu Yahya al-Libi of Al Qaeda to discuss about the operations of the Pakistan Army against the TTP in South Waziristan. Baitullah subsequently died following a missile attack by a US Drone on the house of his father-in-law which he was visiting in August,2009. According to the Treasury Department’s notification declaring him a global terrorist, Haq sent operatives abroad to raise funds for attacks against Chinese interests both at home and abroad. He was also involved with the planning and execution of terror attacks, recruiting, and propaganda efforts. In early 2008, Haq openly threatened to conduct attacks at the Olympic Games in Beijing. Haq ran a training camp for his recruits near an Al Qaeda camp in Tora Bora in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar before the US invasion in October 2001. He later reestablished the IMET’s training camps in North Waziristan in Pakistan. According to Amir Mir, the Pakistani journalist, who writes in the “ News”, a spokesman of the TTP admitted that Abdul Haq was among the three militants killed in an American Drone strike in the Tappi village of Miramshah in North Waziristan on February 15, 2010, while they were travelling in a vehicle. According to a report from another source, the US strike targeted a vehicle and a safe house operated by Taliban leader Hafiz Gul Baradar in the town of Tabi Ghundi Kala. Four terrorists were reported killed in the attack The IMET has not so far admitted his death and designated his successor. It is generally expected that his successor could be one of the three persons who regularly write for the IMET’s journal under the pseudonym Abu Khaled Saifallah, Abu Jaafar al-Mansour and Abu Umar al-Farooq. Nothing is known about their personal background. Abu Khaled Saifallah could be the same person who, under the name Sayfallah issued a video message on July 25,2008, claiming responsibility on behalf of the IMET for the explosions in Shanghai and Kunming and threatening attacks on the Beijing Olympics, which did not materialize. If his claim of responsibility for the Shanghai explosion is correct, it would show that the IMET has a capability for terrorist strikes in Shanghai-Pudong. The IMET will try to operate through Uighur migrant workers employed in Shanghai-Pudong and other coastal areas.


Before 9/11, the training camps of the IMET were located in the Taliban-controlled Afghan territory. After the fall of the Taliban as a result of the US military operations post 9/11, the IMET’s training camps were transferred to North Waziristan. Its training camps work in close co-ordination with those of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU). The IMET and the IMU often exchange their training facilities---- with the IMU training the Uighurs and the the IMET training Uzbecks too. Abdul Haq used to run the training camps in Afghan territory before October 7,2001, when the US started its military operations in Afghanistan. The IMET maintains close relations with the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and the Afghan Taliban headed by Mullah Mohammad Omar. The Uighurs have not yet taken to suicide terrorism in the same way that the two Talibans and the Chechens have. If the Uighur terrorists had succeeded in their attempt to blow up a Chinese aircraft in March,2008, that would have been a major act of suicide terrorism. Their terrorist acts have involved attacks on the security forces with hand-held weapons, use of explosive devices and dashing heavy vehicles such as tractors against the personnel of the security forces.


Twenty-two Uighurs belonging to the IMET, who were arrested in Afghan or Pakistani territory post 9/11, were detained by the US in the Guantanamo detention centre in Cuba. Most of them have since been released by the US on the ground that there was no evidence of their involvement with Al Qaeda or in acts of terrorism directed against the US. The US did not hand them over to China for investigation and prosecution. They have reportedly been allowed to settle down in places such as Albania or the Pacific island of Palau or Switzerland. There is a danger of some of them reverting back to terrorism and rejoining the IMET. It would be necessary for the Chinese security services to request their counterparts in the countries where they are living to keep a watch on them and ensure that they do not reestablist contact with the IMET and allow themselves to be used by the IMET for terrorist strikes during the Shanghai Expo.


(A). On March 7, 2008, the Chinese authorities had claimed to have foiled an attempt by three Uighurs to blow up a plane of the China Southern Airlines flying from Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang province, to Beijing. The persons involved had allegedly managed to smuggle inside the aircraft gasoline concealed inside a can of soft drinks. The plot was foiled by alert security guards on board the plane and two of the suspects were arrested on board the plane. A third was arrested subsequently. The Chairman of China Southern Airlines Liu Chaoyong said that a female passenger came out of the rest room and passed by a flight attendant who detected a suspicious smell. Then she smelt the scent of perfume and gasoline in front of the rest room. The attendant immediately searched the rest room and found an inflammable substance inside the garbage bin of the rest room. The attendant notified the airplane security guard immediately. Based upon how the female passenger spoke and acted, they realized that the male passenger next to her was a companion. The two individuals were arrested. The plane crew then moved the suspicious substance into the special container bin for handling such materials. The plane made an unscheduled stop at the Lanzhou airport. The two suspects were taken away by the police. Liu Chaoyong said that the preliminary analysis was that the two individuals intended to hide the inflammable material and then take action at the appropriate moment. The 'News" of Pakistan reported online on March 21, 2008, that two of the suspects arrested---- a woman and a man--- travelled with Pakistani passports. The woman was described as an Uighur living in Pakistan and trained in a Pakistani jihadi camp and the man as a Central Asian (Uzbeck?). The third person, who escaped, but was subsequently arrested, was described as a Pakistani, who had masterminded the plot.

(B).AUGUST 4, 2008:Fourteen border police guards were killed on the spot and two others succumbed to injuries later when a 28-year-old taxi driver later identified by the name Kurbanjan Hemit, a resident of Kashgar, drove a stolen truck into a group of 70 police guards jogging on the road in the morning. Initially, the Chinese authorities had claimed that they were killed by home-made explosives and knives, but subsequent reports indicated that they were crushed to death under a truck. The driver had an accomplice, who was also a native of Kashgar. He was identified as Abdurrahman Azat, a 33-year-old vegetable vendor. He had placed himself with a mobile telephone outside the border police post. He reportedly informed the driver as soon as the police guards came out and started jogging on the road. As the truck ran over them, the vegetable vendor threw a home-made bomb at the police post and killed some of the injured with a knife used for cutting vegetables. Both the attackers were arrested.

(C).AUGUST 10,2008: Between 3 and 4 AM, 15 Uighurs in different taxis drove round the town of Kuqa (pronounced Kucha), located midway on the railway line between Kashgar and Urumqi and threw home-made hand-grenades and tins filled with gasoline at the local office of the Public Security Department, other government offices, hotels and shops owned by Hans. Since there were not many people on the road at such an early hour in the morning, there were only two fatalities, a police officer and a civilian. The police, who were initially taken by surprise, subsequently managed to corner the attackers and shot dead eight of them. Two blew themselves up with hand-grenades in order to escape capture. Two, including a 15-year-old Uighur girl (Hailiqiemu Abulizi), who was badly injured by a hand-grenade, were captured. Three managed to escape.The Germany-based East Turkestan Information Center (ETIC) said that “East Turkestan freedom and independence fighters attacked a Party building … a people’s government building, a tax office, bazaar management, and brothel on Aug. 10.” It added that the attackers, seven men and four women, were “martyred.”

(D).AUGUST 12,2008:At the town of Yamanya, about 30 Kms from Kashgar, an unspecified number of persons jumped out of a vehicle at a road check-point and stabbed to death three security guards, who were stopping and checking vehicles. A fourth guard was badly injured. It is not known what happened to the attackers.

(E)The "News" of Pakistan of June 6,2009, reported as follows: "The fact that the IMET militants had extended their network of terrorist activities to Pakistan was evident from a threat they had conveyed to the Chinese Embassy in Islamabad, saying they intended to kidnap Chinese diplomats and consular officers stationed in the Pakistani federal capital with a view to highlighting their cause. The Chinese mission subsequently informed the Pakistani authorities in a letter that some members of the IMET had already reached Islamabad and planned to kidnap their staffers from the federal capital. The letter reportedly pointed out that terrorist groups located in Pakistan, including Al Qaeda, had been providing support to the IMET activists for the likely kidnappings. Subsequent investigations had established that the anonymous threat was issued by none other than the East Turkistan Islamic Movement and that the would-be kidnappers had first travelled to Jalalabad in Afghanistan to finalise their plans."

(F). A large number of mysterious attacks with hypodermic syringe needles on the back were reported from different parts of Urumqi since August 17, 2009. These attacks continued for nearly a month and then subsided. There were no reports of any fatalities due to these syringe attacks, which seem to have caused only minor injuries to the persons----some of them school-going Han children--- attacked. There was no reason to suspect the use of poison at the tip of the needles. While the authorities did not say as to who were behind these attacks, local sources suspected that the IMET must have been behind these attacks. These attacks started a few days before the Muslim holy fasting period of Ramadan began.

Thus, the Uighurs had in the past used the following modus operandi:

(a). Attempt to use explosives to hijack or blow up a plane.

(b). Driving a truck or other heavy vehicles into security forces personnel.

( c). Stealing taxis and driving around the town indiscriminately opening fire on the people.

(d). Attacks on security posts.

(e) Plan to kill Chinese diplomats in Pakistan.

(f). Needle stabbings to cause panic and confusion.

It would be necessary to brief those responsible for security at the Expo and in Shanghai-Pudong about the details of the MO used by the Uighurs in the past and train them as to how to deal with such MO if sought to be used again.


Anti-Beijing elements in the Uighur community in China as well as abroad could try to embarrass the Chinese authorities in order draw attention to their demands in the period before and during the Expo. These elements fall into two groups. The first group consists of those inspired by the pan-Islamic ideology of Al Qaeda and acting in co-operation with it. In one of his messages of 2006, Ayman al-Zawahiri, the No.2 of Al Qaeda, had included Xinjiang in the list of lands historically belonging to the Muslims now under the control of non-Muslims. He wanted all these lands to be "liberated" from the control of non-Muslims. The pro-Al Qaeda Uighurs mainly operate from the North Waziristan area of the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan. It has been difficult to quantify their number. Different reports estimate their number differently----ranging between 100 and 1000.

There are strong indicators from independent sources in the Uighur diaspora in Pakistan that the disturbances in Xinjiang in the first week of July,2009, were initially externally-instigated by the Munich-based and US-funded World Uighur Congress (WUC) headed by the US-based Rebiya Kadeer and subsequently exploited by the North Waziristan (in Pakistan) based IMET, which operates in tandem with Al Qaeda as a member of its International Islamic Front (IIF) for Jihad Against the Crusaders and the Jewish People formed in 1998.

The WUC is funded openly and helped in other ways such as the training of its cadres by the Congressionally-funded National Endowment for Democracy (NED) of the US and the Holland-based Unrepresented Nations' and Peoples' Organisation (UNPO). Its membership used to largely consist of Uighurs from the diaspora outside China---mainly from the Western countries. Only during the Urumqi uprising of July,2009. it became evident that it has built up a following at least in the Uighur student community in Urumqi. The WUC is a secular and liberal organisation, which opposes Islamic fundamentalism.

When the Chinese occupied Xinjiang in 1949, a large number of the political elite of the province fled to Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Some of them migrated to West Germany and were used by the CIA during the cold war for assisting it in the broadcasts of Radio Liberty directed to Xinjiang. These secular and liberal Uighurs in the diaspora, who are now associated with the WUC, are admirers of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and interact closely with the Tibetan diaspora in the West.

Whereas the WUC fights against the Han Chinese because they are in occupation of the traditional Uighur homeland, the IMET fights against the Hans because it says they are infidels, who are in occupation of territory, which historically belonged to the Umma. While the WUC till recently drew most of its members from the Uighur diaspora in the West and Australia, the IMET has been drawing its members from the Uighur diaspora in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries. While the WUC gets most of its funds from North America, West Europe and Australia, the IMET has been getting its funds from Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. According to reliable Uighur sources in Pakistan, the Jamaat-e-Islami of Pakistan contributes money regularly to the IMET and helps many Uighur students in Pakistan.

The Urumchi uprising also came at a time when there was a revival of jihadi violence in Uzbekistan and Kyrgystan since the beginning of 2009. While local grievances of the Uighurs were responsible for the fresh wave of unrest in Xinjiang, the revival of pro-Taliban activities in Uzbekistan and Kyrgystan came in the wake of attempts by the US to find alternate routes for the movement of logistic supplies to their troops in Afghanistan through Russia and the Central Asian Republics. Following frequent attacks by the Pakistani Taliban on convoys carrying logistic supplies passing through the Pashtun areas, the US embarked on an exercise to find alternate routes. Reliable sources say that Al Qaeda has been encouraging the Uzbeks, the Uighurs and the Chechens to unite to foil this US exercise and to target the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation's joint operations against terrorism.