Chinese and Pakistan border troops have for the first time launched joint patrolling of the border connecting Pakistan occupied Kashmir with Xinjiang province amid reports that over 100 Uighurs have fled the restive region to join ISIS.
The state media reported about the joint patrol even as Chinese President Xi Jinping asked the Chinese Muslims to practice their religion ‘as part of Chinese society and direction’.
The People’s Daily Online today published a dozen photos with a caption “the frontier defence regiment of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in Xinjiang, along with a border police force from Pakistan, carry out a joint patrol along the China-Pakistan border”.
The photos show teams of armed troops from both sides conducting foot patrols in a number of areas.
This is the first time China-Pakistan began joint patrols in recent years though Chinese troops have been conducting patrols in the area since 2014.
Though there is no write-up to provide details of the joint patrolling and what prompted both the countries to launch it, it coincides with reports of over 100 Uighur Muslims sneaking out of Xinjiang to join ISIS.
US think-tank New America Foundation yesterday said tough religious restrictions on Muslim minorities in China’s far west may have driven 114 Uighurs to join the ISIS but found that the recruits had no prior experience with terrorism, raising questions about China’s official narrative of radicalization in Xinjiang by the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM).