BEIJING OLYMPICS:CHINESE MONITOR DEVELOPMENTS IN PAKISTAN
INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM MONITOR--PAPER NO. 320
In the run-up to the Beijing Olympics of August,2008, the Chinese authorities have been closely monitoring terrorism-related developments in Pakistan. Members of the Olympics Organising Committee and other officials associated with the security arrangements have been visiting Pakistan, including the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP), in order to get themselves briefed by Pakistani intelligence and police officials on terrorism-related developments.
2. So far as Pakistan is concerned, the main Chinese focus has been on the activities of the Uighurs and Uzbeks based in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region, Al Qaeda and other jihadi organisations associated with Al Qaeda.
3.Even though there have been no indications so far of any Olympics-related jihadi activity in Pakistani territory, the Chinese authorities have been monitoring the developments closely.
4.Mr.Wang Yi, the Chinese Senior Vice Foreign Minister, was expected in Islamabad on December 11,2007, on a two-day visit. Sections of the Pakistani media have speculated that the visit might be connected with the on-going talks between the two countries on Chinese assistance for more nuclear power stations in Pakistan. However, reliable police sources say that the main purpose of his visit is to discuss terrorism-related developments with the Pakistani authorities and their likely implications for the Beijing Olympics. With regard to Al Qaeda and its Pakistani associates such as the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEM) and others, an important area of concern is the likelihood of their infiltrating the Pakistani teams, which would be participating in the Olympics and staging incidents in Beijing.There is a likelihood of the Olympics Torch touching Karachi in April next. Security arrangements on this occasion are also likely to be discussed by him. (11-12-07)
(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. He is also associated with the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail: email@example.com )