A faction of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility on Thursday for the killing of a Chinese woman this week, saying it was in revenge for China’s killing of Uighur Muslims in its troubled northwestern region of Xinjiang.
The claim of responsibility is likely to alarm both the government as well as China, which has remained Islamabad’s close ally over the decades.
The Chinese woman was shot on Tuesday in a market in Peshawar, along with a Pakistani national. Police at the time had claimed they were unaware of the motive.
“Our comrades carried out the attack in Peshawar which killed the Chinese tourist,” Mohammed Afridi, a spokesman for a TTP faction from the Darra Adam Khel area, told Reuters by telephone from an undisclosed location.
“This was revenge for the Chinese government killing our Muslim brothers in the Xinjiang province.”
Pakistani and Chinese officials have said that militants based in western China have links to the TTP as well as other militants along the Afghan border.
China accuses one group, the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, of carrying out attacks in China and says it has broken up training camps for men seeking independence for China’s largely Muslim Xinjiang region.
The TTP has attacked foreigners from countries before too..
Afridi said the militants were also demanding that China halt what he called its support for the Pakistani government’s campaign against militants, and said attacks would go on against Chinese people as long as China maintained that support.
The Chinese embassy has called for action after the latest incident.
“The embassy has requested the Pakistani side to conduct a thorough and immediate investigation, bring the murderer to justice and properly deal with its aftermath,” it said.
“Pakistan is also requested to take effective steps to ensure the security of the Chinese nationals in the country.”
Pakistan’s ambassador to China, Masood Khan, had already vowed that the attackers would be tracked down.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 2nd, 2012.