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Uyghur News
14-04-08, 13:24
Pakistan expresses support for Beijing
ISLAMABAD, April 14 (Reuters) - Pakistan, a close ally of China, on Monday expressed support for China ahead of the Beijing Olympics, saying sport should not be mixed with politics.
The Games have been beset by controversy some four months before the athletes even arrive in China, with the ceremonial torch relay drawing large protests in several countries over Beijing's policies, in particular its crackdown on unrest in Tibet.
"This is a sporting event in which other issues if included would have very serious repercussions," Arif Hassan, President of the Pakistan Olympic Association, told a news conference.
"I think sports should be treated as sports which can be used for the development of peace in the world."
Hassan said Pakistan had taken all security measures to ensure the torch relay's visit to Islamabad passed without trouble.
"I'm sure the people of Pakistan totally support the people of China and are totally in agreement with them in this particular torch relay," he said.
The torch will arrive in Islamabad on Wednesday.
Pakistan has been struck by a wave of suicide attacks by al Qaeda-linked militants in recent months though there has been no such bombing since a new coalition government took office in the country this month.
China is a major arms supplier for Pakistan, with each side long using the other as a counter-weight to India's influence.
Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf is currently visiting China and has met Chinese President Hu Jintao.
Hu told Musharraf that their two countries should strengthen cooperation in fighting terrorism and drug trafficking, as well as enhance security for the Olympic Games.
China is concerned about security threats from Uighur militants in its northwest region of Xinjiang who have forged ties with Pakistan-based militants.
Musharraf will wind up his six-day trip to China on April 15 with a visit to Urumqi, the regional capital of Xinjiang. (Reporting by Kamran Haider; Editing by Zeeshan Haider and Jeremy Laurence) ("Countdown to Beijing Olympics" blog at http://blogs.reuters.com/china)