Marriage with China

  • The busting of a brokering raises more questions than answered


The FIA says it has busted an international gang which sent girls from Pakistan to China where they had been promised marriage, and made 14 arrests of Chinese nationals, recovering three girls. The ring had apparently spread to Faisalabad, Lahore and Rawalpindi, where they had focused on the Christian communities, saying that the Chinese grooms were Christians, not Buddhists. A number of questions remain unanswered. The first is that of delay: the FIA itself said the gang had been operating for more than a year. The natural question is why the FIA intervened only now and thus had presumably allowed an unknown number of girls to be sent to China. There is the additional question of what was their fate. There is the possibility of white-slave trafficking. The girls may simply be used as labour, or the reports of organ harvesting might be true. The last have been categorically denied by the Chinese Embassy in Islamabad, but there needs be some investigation of this aspect.

There need to be other dimensions investigated. Just arresting Chinese nationals should not prevent our police from identifying and arresting their local accomplices, but should spur them on. That Human Rights Watch had to raise the alarm in the light of disturbingly similar reports from other Asian countries is a matter for the government to look hard at the FIA’s sense of timing. This provides an example of why the government should allow greater press freedom: HRW, the press and other such organisations perform a useful role for governments even as they shatter the impression they wish to create of unruffled calm; they uncover truths which keep the government informed.

Another intriguing aspect that needs probing is the possible link of this scam to the protest sometime back of Gilgiti men who had married Uighur wives from Xinjiang, who were allegedly not being let back into Pakistan after being caught up in the mass imprisonment of Uighurs there. Those men had been demanding their wives back. That shows why the recent arrests may well be just the tip of the iceberg. Further investigations, further arrests, will only reveal further aspects of a problem that has yet to be fully diagnosed, and will take some time to be eliminated.