Where the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has made China an important ally for Pakistan, it’s now spreading a negative count in Pakistani minds. Since the commemoration of the billion-dollar project, several criminal cases related to Chinese nationals have been reported time after time. Be it ATM skimming, issuance of Pakistan’s Computerized National Identity Cards (CNIC) or Chinese/Pakistani marriages, our neighbors from CPEC manage to stay in the news.
Since last year, Pakistan has been the hub of transnational marriages. Pakistanis were in sheer awe and called these marriages an advantage of CPEC but later it was discovered as a human trade case by the law enforcement agencies and the investigation started. The case spread all over the news with the blink of an eye and everyone was shocked.
Recently, The Deputy Director of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) made a statement in which he told the media that 8 Chinese nationals and 4 Pakistanis who were involved in human trade got caught from Punjab side and that the FIA will always expose every wrongdoing within the country. The Chinese culprits were responsible for marrying Pakistani girls and trading them to China and force them into illicit activities while the Pakistanis arrested were ‘brokers’ who helped them in finding a poor family.
This has had the unintended consequence of creating a fertile hunting ground for human and sex traffickers. Another case of a Christian girl from Gujranwala made it to the headlines two days back. Muqadas Ashraf, 16, was sold off to a Chinese man who came to Pakistan in search of a bride. The parents of the girl had taken money against their daughter and now she’s back in Pakistan. She was mistreated there, she’s pregnant now and wants a divorce. It’s all fraud and cheating, she stated.
The Chinese embassy in Islamabad has also raised the alarm over illegal, cross-border matchmaking services that are often a front for human trafficking. Last month the embassy said China was cooperating with Pakistani law enforcement agencies to crack down on illegal matchmaking. It denied reports that the women were being trafficked for the sale of their organs as “misleading and groundless”.
China is our friend, but the question is how the visas is being provided to them and how many Chinese people have been visually impressed that Chinese people easily land Any section can be found. Checking for these visas is very important, due to the CPEC plan, we cannot leave our national laws on someone’s mercy.
Such heinous crimes committed by the individuals or groups from either side might lead to an undesirable situation between Pakistan and China. Pak-China economic relations and efforts to increase people-to-people contacts have been the target of western media and scholars. It is a dominant discourse developed by the western scholars that Pakistan and China are two different civilizations and any effort to let the Chinese come to Pakistan will adversely impact the social fabric of Pakistan.
The Ministry of Interior Affairs should took a policy decision to review the conditions and requirements for the issuance of business and work visas for the Chinese nationals. Both Chinese and Pakistani citizens to remain vigilant and not to be cheated. We also welcome valuable clues to combat such offences. At the same time, it is hoped that reports should be based on the facts. We hope that the public does not believe in misleading information and work together to safeguard China-Pakistan friendship,” the statement added.
The Chinese nationals visiting Pakistan on various visa categories and to streamline and regulate the entire process of visa issuance to Chinese nationals. Across the border in China, our foreign mission must actively coordinate with local authorities to trace and verify the status of women who may be there against their will, and provide all necessary consular support.
Interior Affairs must plug in all loopholes in the issuance of visas to the Chinese nationals, so as to ensure maximum transparency in the entire process and strict the policy for Chinese National to stand with to work together to safeguard China-Pakistan friendship.