Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan was told on Monday that a Chinese couple, who were abducted from Quetta last month and later allegedly killed, belonged to a group of Chinese nationals who had obtained a business visa for Pakistan, and were supposedly engaged in ‘preaching.’
It was not immediately clear what the interior ministry suspected them of ‘preaching’.
Lee Zing Yang, 24, and Meng Li Si, 26, were abducted from Jinnah Town of Balochistan’s provincial capital on 24th May. Later, the Islamic State terrorist group claimed they had killed the abductees.
The interior ministry confirmed the two Chinese nationals were killed. As of yet, it is not clear if their bodies have been found.
In a meeting held at the Interior Ministry regarding the reviewal and issuance of visas to Chinese nationals alongside the registration of international nongovernmental organisations (INGOs), Nisar was informed the couple was among a group of Chinese citizens who obtained a business visa from the Pakistani Embassy in Beijing.
However, instead of carrying out any business activity, like their business visa had insinuated, they went to Quetta where they were involved in evangelical activities. This was carried out under the garb of learning the Urdu language from a Korean national, Juan Won Seo, who owns the ARK Info Tech Institute, the minister was told.
Nisar said there was a need to review the process of issuance of visas to the Chinese nationals coming to Pakistan, and simultaneously to maintain a databank of the Chinese nationals present in various parts of the country.
He also called for a data bank of Chinese nationals present in the country to be maintained.
“This databank, to be prepared by NADRA [National Database Registration Authority], should be shared with all security agencies,” Nisar told the participants who included secretary interior, advocate general, DG IMPASS, NADRA deputy chairman and other senior officers.
At present, Chinese citizens are able to obtain visas faster in comparison to other nationals, and for longer periods, especially when their work relates to CPEC projects.
“Where the government makes every effort to provide security to foreigners, the visiting foreign nationals are equally bound to abide by the terms and conditions of their visas and inform local authorities about their movements and activities in view of the security requirements, if any,” he said.
Later, Chinese Ambassador Sun Weidong met with Gen. Zubair Mahmood Hayat, Pakistan’s chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, an army statement said. It is said they discussed security and defense. No further elaboration was given.
Pakistan has been battling various extremist groups for long over a decade.
Chinese media found a Korean angle to the killing of two Chinese citizens in Pakistan
The day after the Islamic State claim, state-controlled tabloid Global Times published a report that suggested the attack could be related to the work of a Korean-led missionary group. Using the sensationalist headline “Scoop! The truth behind the kidnapped Chinese people in Pakistan: Sure enough it’s Korean people’s’ fault again.”, the insinuation was implied. The article noted that Korea’s Christian aid workers have been kidnapped and killed overseas in the past.
China’s foreign ministry hasn’t publicly identified the slain nationals or confirmed what they were doing in Pakistan, and has said that they are still in the process of verifying the validity of the Islamic State claim. The two were kidnapped in late May; China’s and South Korea’s foreign ministries have yet to respond to queries regarding the China media reports. (Chinese Media Reported)
The Global Times and the Paper, a Shanghai-based digital publication, both reported that the two slain Chinese nationals, in their twenties, belonged to a Christian missionary group led by a South Korean citizen. The 13-member group was running a language school, the reports said, citing an unidentified hotel owner. According to the reports, members of the local Muslim community said that the group tried to spread Christian teachings to them. A Chinese journalist says the Chinese foreign ministry briefed several Chinese outlets at a closed-door meeting with the same details that were reported.
The number of Pakistani students studying Putonghua has skyrocketed since 2014, when Chinese President Xi Jinping signed off on plans to fund the construction of power and road infrastructure in the country as part of the US$46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.