China withholds visas for 90 Pakistani brides over trafficking fears: Lijian Zhao

Visas of over 90 Pakistani brides have been withheld over fears of sex trafficking and organ trade, China’s Deputy Chief of Mission in Pakistan Lijian Zhao said.

Speaking exclusively to media , Zhao said the Chinese Embassy in Islamabad had received 142 applications from Chinese nationals, seeking visas for their Pakistani brides in 2018, whereas 140 similar applications have already been received in the first few months of the current year.

“This sudden spike in number of transnational marriages alerted the officials and we approached our Pakistani counterparts in this regard who have launched an investigation into the matter,” said the Chinese diplomat. Only 50 visas were granted with the remaining requests being withheld, he added.

The Chinese diplomat reacted strongly to local media reports that some Pakistani women were being forced into prostitution and subjected to heinous crime of organ harvesting. Zhao said the media reports twisted the facts as there were no evidences to corroborate the claims.

Zhao denied the notion that all marriages were fake, saying the Chinese nationals, who applied for visas of their Pakistani spouses last year, have completed all the legal formalities before moving the application.

The Chinese diplomat said there were a few complaints of Pakistani women being tortured by their husbands in China, which he added will be addressed accordingly. He asked the Pakistani authorities to review the on-arrival visa policy for Chinese businessmen as some marriage bureaus in Pakistan were misusing it.

Last week, at least 20 Pakistani girls, trapped in China after allegedly falling victim to fake marriages with Chinese men, were sent back to the country. The girls were sent back to Pakistan after receiving complaints, an media report quoted official in the Pakistan embassy in Beijing as saying.

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has already launched a crackdown against fake marriages and human trafficking operations by Chinese rings. The FIA Lahore Zone-I busted a Chinese gang from Johar Town and arrested 11 Chinese nationals and their two Pakistani facilitators.

On Friday, China said its ministry of public security had sent a task force to Pakistan to cooperate in the crackdown.