Three priests ‘involved’ in bride trafficking scam also arrested, Senate body told

Published May 11, 2019
Malik says 90pc of the women who married Chinese men belonged to the Christian community. — AFP/File
Malik says 90pc of the women who married Chinese men belonged to the Christian community. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: A Senate committee was on Friday informed that besides Pakistani marriage bureaus and Chinese nationals, three priests were also involved in the scam of Chinese nationals’ illegal marriages with Pakistani women.

The Senate Standing Committee on Interior, which met at Parliament House with Senator Rehman Malik in the chair, discussed the issue of illegal marriages of Chinese nationals with Pakistani women. The committee members expressed concerns over reports of human trafficking in the name of marriages.

The chairman of the committee told the participants that officials of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had informed him that three priests were also involved in contracting the marriages. The priests have been arrested, he said.

Committee chairman says over 150 Pakistani women moved to China last year

Mr Malik said that last year over 150 Pakistani young women had moved to China.

He said the Chinese embassy in Islamabad initiated a probe and referred the matter to the FIA. He said 90 per cent of the women who married Chinese men belonged to the Christian community.

“But it is not an issue whether these young women are Christian or Muslim. Above all, they are Pakistanis and we will take every step to hold people involved in the scam accountable,” the chairman said, adding the role of the Chinese embassy was commendable as it was following the case.

The chairman said at the next meeting of the committee the FIA would brief the members about the progress in the case.

Mr Malik stressed the need for establishment of a regulatory authority for marriage bureaus.

He told in the meeting that a letter had already been written to the FIA director general to answer several questions.

In the letter, Mr Malik asked the FIA to submit a report on the recent raids in connection with illegal/legal marriages between Chinese men and Pakistani women. He also asked the FIA to provide information to the committee as who mediated these marriages and what procedure was followed for Nikkah/marriage registration?

Besides, the chairman also asked the FIA to provide names and details of the marriage bureaus involved in these marriages.

The FIA anti-human trafficking cell arrested 20 people for bride trafficking during raids in Rawalpindi and Islamabad on Wednesday. Among the arrested people, there were 14 Chinese nationals from whom weapons were also sized. Three local facilitators and three Pakistani women were also held.

So far, 39 arrests have been made during raids all over Punjab by the FIA in connection with the case - four in Faisalabad (May 3), eight in Lahore (May 6), seven in Rawalpindi (May 7) and 20 in Rawalpindi/Islamabad on Wednesday.

Earlier, the committee discussed various agenda items and urged the government to provide required budget to the Frontier Constabulary (FC) Balochistan and KP in the upcoming fiscal year.

FC (N) Balochistan chief Brig Furqan briefed the committee on the budget allocations and financial requirements for the projects to be undertaken during financial year 2019-20. He requested the committee to recommend Rs23.35 billion for the next fiscal year.

Pak-Iran border

The FC head of Balochistan south told the committee that Pakistan-Iran boarder was being fenced. He said in the recent months FC had foiled a large number of terrorist activities besides eliminating those involved in terrorism. He said foreign elements, including Indian and Afghan spy agencies, were involved in terror activities in Balochistan.

FC Commandant KP Moazzam Jah Ansari briefed the committee on the budget allocations and the financial requirements for the projects to be undertaken in the upcoming fiscal year.

He said the FC KP was the poorest force among the law enforcement agencies.

He said the martyr package for the FC KP was less than any other force of the country. Therefore, it is requested to enhance the package for the martyrs and injured troops.

Buildings lack facilities for persons with disabilities

The committee considered a point of public importance regarding the steps being taken by CDA to ensure all buildings and public places in Islamabad are equipped with requisite facilities for people with special needs. The matter was raised by Senator Dr Shahzad Waseem.

CDA’s director building control Faisal Naeem said the CDA chairman had already formed a committee which had started working to ensure maximum facilities in buildings for special people.

Published in Dawn, May 11th, 2019

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