Xinjiang loyal to China, not seeking secession: Afghan minister

ISLAMABAD – Afghan Deputy Minister of Economy Dr Abdul Latif Nazari on Wednesday said people of Xinjiang remained loyal to China and did not seek secession or separation.

He was speaking at a webinar titled, ‘International Forum on Xinjiang Modernisation Drive From A Global Perspective’ organized by Asian Institute of Ecocivilization Research and Development (AIERD), Schiller Institute and Belt and Road Institute (BRIX) Sweden. Shakeel Ahmad Ramay from AIERD moderated the event.

Mr Nazari said China had neutralized western propaganda on Xinjiang by uplifting the area, and carrying out economic development in the area.

Minister said Beijing uplifted various sectors in Xinjiang, including education and industry. lauded Chinese role in world peace, especially mentioning its efforts in bringing Saudi-Iran rapprochement. He further emphasized on shared security, saying that no one could win by waging wars.

Nazari went on to say that China was pursuing the policy of non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries and instead stressed on enhancing economic and political ties. He also expressed his desire to replicate Chinese Xinjiang model in Afghanistan as well.

He also called on China to invest in Afghanistan in sectors of mining, infrastructure, industry and education, and clarified that Afghanistan would never allow any group to threathen Chinese interests in Afghanistan.

Germany-based Schiller Institute chairperson Helga Zepp-LaRouche said western media was spreading false propaganda about human rights violations in Xinjiang. She said delegations from Schiller Institute had visited the region and had found no evidence in this regard. She said China had lifted the region’s population from extreme poverty and had equipped them with skills to make a career.

She said China was focusing on human development along with economic uplift in Xinjiang. BRIX vice chairman Hussein Askery said massive development in Xinjiang served as an example for other nations.

He said China had cracked down on terrorist idealogues through vocational and educational programmes. Mr Askery negated the western media propaganda of genocide in Xinjiang.

Various delegations had been sent by Muslim countries to corroborate it but found no substantial proof, he said, adding that as per the 2022 census, the population of Xinjiang had increased to 25.8 million. “What kind of genocide it is where the population is increasing,” he said.

He said Beijing had built 2.5 million housing units and was focusing on agriculture development in Xinjiang. He said the people of the region continue to retain their cultural indentity. Mr Askery said Xinjiang bordered nine countries and China had built 17 border ports, adding that the region was also the main rail freight hub for European Union and Central Asia.

Businessman Bilal Janjua elaborated on the reasons why the West was targeting Xinjiang. He said the region had 5 billion tonnes of oil and gas deposits which could usher an era of huge development in the region. This, he added, was why the West wanted to destabilize the region.

He said Xinjiang was on the crossroads of multiple regions. It was the energy gateway and had oil and gas pipleines running through it. These pipelines were coming from Central Asia into Xinjiang and onwards to China, he said, adding that the region was a logistic hub.

Another important aspect was the high quality cotton the region had, producing six million tonnes, Mr Janjua said. He said between 2015-22, the US was the leading supplier of cotton to China, but this had now reserved. China no longer imported cotton from the US and had infact gone into production mode, Mr Janjua said, adding that as a result the “heat was on Xinjiang”.

He said China was focusing on skills development and many people from Xinjiang had become economic contributors. Xinjiang is also a tourist hub, boasting 2,000 tourist sites, attracting 100 million domestic tourists in one decade alone, Mr Janjua said. Yuba Nath Lamsal From Nepal said the American propaganda was not against Xinjiang alone but the entire China.

He said false narrative was promoted to tarnish China’s image, adding that the US and West were at war with China, though no militarily, and called it a ‘soft war’ focusing on economy and trade, terming it the second cold war. China was a target of the West for strategic and geopolitical purpose, he added, saying new world order was emerging, with China at the forefront, and American power was crumbling.

BRIX Institute Chairman Stephen Brawer emphasized that the new global order was emerging as a result of China-Russia and China-India cooperation, and very soon Europe would be joining this order.

Minister of State and convener SDGs for Parliament Romina Khurshid Alam on Wednesday urged countries in Asia to stand with each other and form a consortium on the pattern of the European Union (EU) to overcome various challenges confronting the region.

Ms Alam said it was high time that Asian nations strengthened each other, and for this purpose, caucuses need to be formed. Parliamentarians should be engaged who should work on strengthening bilateral ties with various countries, she said, adding that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was not only for Pakistan and China but for all the neighbouring countries. “It can become a logistic hub of all of Asia,” the minister said.

Ms Alam said modernisation of development initiative could help improve living standard of people and elevate poverty. She also stressed on policy advocacy, saying that peace was the only viable economic solution.

(Talal Ch)

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