China will continue to verify the kidnapping and killing of its two nationals by the ISIS militants in Pakistan and will cooperate in investigating their alleged illegal “preaching” activities in the Muslim nation, the Foreign Ministry said today. The Ministry’s response came after China’s official media yesterday accused South Korean Christian groups of converting young Chinese and sending them for proselytising in Muslim countries. Earlier, Pakistan had said the two Chinese nationals killed by ISIS were involved in “preaching” in the country. In a statement late last night, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said China had not received any official confirmation of the deaths from Pakistan and will do its best to verify reports that the two have been killed as soon as possible, Lu said. Reports from Pakistan said the two were killed by Islamic State group after being abducted by gunmen dressed as policemen in Quetta last month.
The Islamic State terror group has claimed that it had killed two Chinese hostages, including a woman, who were abducted by armed gunmen from restive Balochistan province. China firmly opposes all kinds of terrorism and extreme violence targeting civilians and supports Pakistan’s efforts to combat terrorism and safeguard domestic security, Lu said, adding that China will work with the international community in the fight against terrorism. China appreciates Pakistan’s efforts to rescue the two hostages and its commitment to better protect Chinese nationals and institutions in Pakistan, Lu said. China has always asked its citizens to abide by local laws and regulations, respect local customs and be aware of risks when in foreign countries, he said.
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Lu said China will cooperate with Pakistan’s investigation into illegal preaching activities allegedly undertaken by the two of its nationals. Pakistani Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar on Monday directed the ministry to review, regulate and streamline the process of issuing visas to Chinese nationals. Nisar said that all Pakistani missions were bound to undertake proper scrutiny of visa applications and must get all necessary details before exercising their power to issue visas to foreign nationals.
Pakistan has been grappling with Islamist and nationalist insurgencies in Balochistan since 2004, with hundreds of soldiers and militants killed in the fighting. ISIS has been making inroads in Pakistan with the help of its ties with local militant outfits like Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Jamaat-ul-Ahrar. However, the government has largely downplayed the presence of the dreaded terror outfit.