Two Chinese nationals abducted from Quetta last month and reportedly killed by ISIS militants were involved in “preaching” instead of business activities – their declared purpose for visiting Pakistan – Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar was told today. The Dawn newspaper reported that Nisar was told that the abductees had gone to Quetta and were engaged in preaching under the garb of learning Urdu from a Korean national, Juan Won Seo, who is the owner of ARK Info Tech. Lee Zing Yang, 24, and Meng Li Si, 26, were abducted from Jinnah Town Quetta in the restive Balochistan province on May 24 and later murdered. The Islamic State had claimed responsibility for their killing. The minister was informed that the two were part of a group of Chinese citizens who obtained business visas from the Pakistani Embassy in Beijing and entered Pakistan. It was not immediately clear what the interior ministry suspected them of ‘preaching’, the newspaper reported on the high-level meeting attended by Nisar. The minister observed that it is “highly unfortunate that a misuse of the terms of business visa contributed to the unfortunate abduction and subsequent murder of two innocent Chinese”.
The murder of the two Chinese nationals apparently forced Chinese President Xi Jinping not to meet Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Summit in Astana last week. However, Beijing today asserted that the two leaders met “several times” during the meeting Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Interior Minister Nisar has ordered an initial review, followed by regulation and the streamlining of the visa process to avoid the misuse of business visas by foreign nationals. Nisar expressed his displeasure at the laxity often shown in granting visas by Pakistani missions abroad. He directed all Pakistani missions to undertake proper scrutiny of visa application forms and acquire all necessary details before exercising their powers.
Nisar directed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs be taken on board and their input be included while formulating new visa policy guidelines for issuance of visas to the foreigners on various visa categories. He also called for a data bank of Chinese nationals present in the country to be maintained.
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This data bank, to be prepared by National Database Registration Authority (Nadra), should be shared with all security agencies, ordered the minister in the meeting, which was attended by the secretary interior, advocate general, director general of immigration and passports, the deputy chairman Nadra and others.
The minister also said that ensuring the security of foreign nationals is a shared responsibility and that the Pakistani government was doing its bit to secure foreigners. However, he was quick to point out that the visitors held some responsibility as well, and should inform local authorities about their movements and activities.
The 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.