Islamabad. (ANI) In recent years, Pakistan’s support to Chinese actions near the border has evolved from counter-terrorism measures taken against Uyghur- origin militants affiliated with South Asian jihadist outfits to lifting individuals at the behest of the Chinese government.
Kunwar Khuldune Shahid writes for The Diplomat that textile and carpet merchant Abdul Wali's elder brother was abducted by local authorities. Wali belongs to an Uyghur Muslim family originally hailing from the Dabancheng district of Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang region.
Wali said that his brother, an Islamic cleric, was accused of being a member of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement(ETIM), an Islamist militant group outlawed as a terror outfit in both China and Pakistan.
Wali's friend, Ibrahim Ahmed, whose father moved to Gilgit- Baltistan from Xinjiang, said that the Pakistani Uyghur community has increasingly suppressed its identity in recent years in the wake of growing Chinese cultural cleansing.
“I travel the length and breadth of Pakistan for work. The Chinese have taken over the country. In Gilgit, many are asking their family members, especially men, to leave for other parts of Pakistan and even other countries. China is erasing the existence of Uyghurs from Gilgit, where many of us have been living for decades”, Ahmed told The Diplomat.
It is important to note that Gilgit- Baltistan is the gateway of the USD 62 billion China – Pakistan Economic Corridor(CPEC), Beijing’s biggest overseas investment and an important part of its headline Belt and Road Initiative.