Pakistan’s air force plans to acquire more than 200 JF-17 fighters, which are being produced jointly by Pakistan and China. Chinese security forces conduct frequent counterinsurgency exercises with their Pakistani counterparts.
Beijing is particularly concerned about Uighur insurgents — ethnic Muslims opposed to Chinese rule in western Xinjiang province — who seek shelter and training in Pakistan. China frequently provides Pakistan with intelligence on militants it is seeking. In December 2003, Pakistani forces killed Uighur rebel Hasan Mahsum in a raid requested by China.
Concern also has been raised about the safety of thousands of Chinese working in Pakistan.
In 2004, three Chinese engineers were killed in a car bomb attack at the massive Gwadar port project in Baluchistan by militants resentful of purported exploitation of the region.
A few months later, insurgents in Waziristan, led by a man once held at U.S. Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, kidnapped two Chinese engineers, one of whom was later killed in a rescue attempt. Three more Gwadar workers were fatally shot last year in an ambush.
These concerns were on the table last month when Pakistani Interior Minister Ahmad Khan Sherpao visited Beijing for talks with Chinese Public Security Minister Zhou Yongkang.
It was during these talks that the Red Mosque’s students kidnapped the seven Chinese, whom they accused of “immoral activities.” Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper reported that Mr. Zhou gave Mr. Sherpao “an earful” about the incident.
The Chinese role in the Red Mosque siege was widely noted in Asia but hardly noticed in the United States. Daniel Markey at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington attributed that to a simple lack of information.
“The Chinese ask for a few big things and probably make it clear that they’d better get them. The United States asks for a lot of different things all the time and we don’t always get everything we want.”