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ISLAMABAD: In a twist to the incident involving the brutal murder of two Chinese nationals in Balochistan, a meeting at the interior ministry was informed on Monday that the visitors were preachers and not teachers as has been reported since their abduction last month.

On May 24, in an instance of a security lapse gunmen dressed as police kidnapped the Chinese man and woman from Jinnah Town in Quetta. A third Chinese escaped the abduction.

The militant Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the kidnapping and on June 8 released a video showing the murder, though government authorities kept denying the two had indeed been slain.

However, the meeting on Monday, presided over by Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, appeared to have discussed neither the security lapse in Quetta nor the circumstances in which the Chinese nationals were kidnapped and executed by the IS. Instead, it was informed that the Chinese nationals were in fact Christian missionaries who had misused their business visas.

Minister says databank of neighbouring country’s citizens present in Pakistan should be maintained

The meeting was told that a group of Chinese citizens, including the two abductees, obtained business visas from the Pakistani embassy in Beijing. However, instead of engaging in any business activity after arriving in Pakistan they went to Quetta and on the pretext of learning the Urdu language from a Korean national Juan Won Seo, owner of ARK Info Tech, started preaching Christianity.

The reports received by the interior ministry identified the deceased as Lee Zing Yang, 24, and Meng Li Si, 26.

Chaudhry Nisar said it was highly unfortunate that the misuse of the terms of business visa had contributed to the murder.

Visa process

The minister directed Interior Secretary Tariq Mehmood to investigate the matter and ensure that such misuse did not recur.

He ordered the interior ministry to review, regulate and streamline the process of issuance of visas to the Chinese nationals.

He noted that there was a need to review the process of issuance of visas to the Chinese nationals coming to Pakistan for various projects and simultaneously to maintain a databank of the Chinese present in the country. This databank, to be prepared by the National Database and Registration Authority, should be shared with all security agencies, he added.

The minister observed that ensuring the security of foreign nationals was a shared responsibility. Where the government makes every effort to provide security to foreigners, the visitors are equally bound to abide by the terms and conditions of their visas and inform local authorities about their movements and activities keeping in view the security requirement, if any.

Taking serious note of laxity often shown by the Pakistani missions during grant of visas, especially the business visas, Chaudhry Nisar directed all Pakistani missions to undertake proper scrutiny of visa applications and get all necessary details before exercising their power of issuance of visas.

He said the ministry of foreign affairs should be taken on board and their input should be included while formulating new visa policy guidelines for issuance of visas in various categories.

INGOs’ registration

The meeting reviewed progress in the registration of international non-government organisations (INGOs) under the new policy framework devised by the ministry of interior. It was informed that so far 66 INGOs had been formally registered with the interior ministry.

Chaudhry Nisar told his ministry to expedite the process of obtaining required information from the INGOs which were yet to furnish complete information so that a decision could be taken about their registration. He directed that the process of granting formal registration to the INGOs should be completed by the end of July.

Published in Dawn, June 13th, 2017

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