ISLAMABAD – Afghan Deputy Minister of Economy Dr. Abdul Latif Nazari said Wednesday that people in Xinjiang have remained loyal to China and do not seek secession or division.

He spoke at a webinar entitled “International Forum on Xinjiang Modernization Drive From A Global Perspective” organized by the Asian Institute of Ecocivilization Research and Development (AIERD), the Schiller Institute and the Belt and Road Institute (BRIX) Sweden. Shakeel Ahmad Ramay from AIERD moderated the event.

Mr. Nazari said China has neutralized Western propaganda about Xinjiang by upgrading the region and carrying out economic development in the region.

The minister said Beijing has strengthened various sectors in Xinjiang, including education and industry. praised China’s role in world peace, noting in particular its efforts to bring Saudi Arabia and Iran closer together. He also emphasized common security and said that no one can win by waging wars.

Nazari went on to say that China follows the policy of non-interference in other countries’ internal affairs, instead focusing on strengthening economic and political ties. He also expressed his desire to replicate the Chinese Xinjiang model in Afghanistan.

He also called on China to invest in Afghanistan in the mining, infrastructure, industrial and educational sectors, and clarified that Afghanistan would never allow any group to threaten Chinese interests in Afghanistan.

Germany-based Schiller Institute chair Helga Zepp-LaRouche said Western media spread false propaganda about human rights abuses in Xinjiang. She said Schiller Institute delegations had visited the region and found no evidence in this regard. She said China has lifted the region’s people out of extreme poverty and equipped them with skills they need for careers.

She said China is focusing on human development and economic recovery in Xinjiang. BRIX Vice Chairman Hussein Askery said the massive development in Xinjiang has served as an example for other nations.

He said China has cracked down on terrorist idealologists through vocational and educational programs. Mr. Askery rejected Western media propaganda of the Xinjiang genocide.

Various delegations have been sent by Muslim countries to confirm this but have found no substantive evidence, he said, adding that Xinjiang’s population has risen to 25.8 million, according to the 2022 census. “What a genocide is that where the population is increasing,” he said.

He said Beijing has built 2.5 million housing units and is focusing on developing agriculture in Xinjiang. He said people in the region continue to maintain their cultural identity. Mr Askery said Xinjiang borders nine countries and China has built 17 border ports, adding that the region is also the main rail freight hub for the European Union and Central Asia.

Businessman Bilal Janjua explained the reasons why the West targeted Xinjiang. He said the region has 5 billion tons of oil and gas reserves, which could herald an era of tremendous development in the region. For this reason, the West wants to destabilize the region, he added.

He said Xinjiang is at the intersection of several regions. It was the energy gateway and was traversed by oil and gas pipelines. Those pipelines ran from Central Asia to Xinjiang and on to China, he said, adding that the region is a logistics hub.

Another important consideration is the high-quality cotton in the region, which produces six million tons, Mr Janjua said. He said the US was the top cotton supplier to China between 2015 and 2022, but that has now held back. China stopped importing cotton from the US and has actually switched to production mode, Mr. Janjua said, adding that this “takes the heat on Xinjiang”.

He said China is focusing on skill development and many people from Xinjiang have become economic operators. Xinjiang is also a tourist hub with 2,000 tourist spots that have attracted 100 million domestic tourists in a decade alone, Mr Janjua said. Yuba Nath Lamsal of Nepal said American propaganda was not only aimed at Xinjiang, but at all of China.

He said false narratives were being spread to tarnish China’s image, adding that the US and the West are at war with China, albeit not militarily, calling it a “soft war” focused on economics and trade, and referred to it as the second Cold War. China is a Western target for strategic and geopolitical reasons, he added, saying a new world order is emerging, with China at the forefront, and American power is crumbling.

Stephen Brawer, Chairman of the BRIX Institute, stressed that the new global order is emerging as a result of cooperation between China, Russia and China and India, and that Europe will join this order very soon.

Romina Khurshid Alam, Minister of State and convener of the SDGs for Parliament, on Wednesday called on countries in Asia to stand together and form a consortium modeled on the European Union (EU) to tackle various challenges facing the region is.

Ms Alam said it is high time for Asian nations to strengthen each other and political groups must be formed for that purpose. Parliamentarians should be involved, who should work on strengthening bilateral ties with different countries, she said, adding that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) applies not only to Pakistan and China but to all neighboring countries. “It can become a logistics center for all of Asia,” said the minister.

Ms Alam said the modernization of the development initiative can help improve people’s living standards and increase poverty. She also emphasized political advocacy, saying that peace is the only viable economic solution.

(Talal Ch)

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