FO urges ‘restraint’ over fake marriages issue


–Spokesperson says Pakistan and China working closely to take culprits to the task 

–79 suspects, including Chinese nationals, arrested so far

LAHORE: Days after China denied reports that Pakistani women who stayed in China after marriage with its nationals were “forced into prostitution or organ sale”, Pakistan’s Foreign Office appeared to endorse the Chinese claim, saying it was essential to “avoid sensationalism”.

In a statement on Sunday, FO Spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal said “sensitive matters should be reported only on the basis of established facts”, adding that both countries were “working closely to resolve the issue of marriages of Pakistani women and human trafficking by some Chinese nationals”.

Dr Faisal said that the relevant authorities from both governments are in close contact on this issue.

He said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Pakistan Missions in China are closely monitoring the situation and extending all possible assistance to Pakistani citizens who may have any complaints on the subject.

The spokesperson said all other relevant departments of the government and the concerned Chinese authorities will continue to coordinate on the matter to address the grievances of the affected individuals, bring the culprits to justice, and ensure that such incidents do not recur in future.

Meanwhile, at least 79 people have been detained by officials in Islamabad and other districts of Punjab in on-going crackdown on fake match-making centres.

An investigation team from Beijing has also arrived in Islamabad to probe the matter and has assured “all possible cooperation”.

Over the past two weeks, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) arrested scores of Chinese nationals and their suspected local accomplices in connection with its investigation into a transnational gang allegedly involved in contracting fake marriages between Chinese men and Pakistani women, who are allegedly forced into prostitution and the illegal organ trade in China.

In Lahore, FIA officials raided the hideouts and arrested 21 Chinese nationals and their two Pakistani abettors, believed to be involved in the matter.

In Faisalabad, 34 people, including 33 Chinese men, were arrested who were sent on judicial remand. During the investigation, they have confessed that they used to take money for contracting marriages of Pakistani girls.

In Islamabad, 20 people were taken into custody by the concerned authorities, while 14 of whom were sent on judicial remand. Six other people are under the custody of the FIA.

In Mandi Bahauddin, authorities conducted joint inquiry and detained a woman, hailing from Lahore, a Chinese man, and their alleged facilitator. Five families had contracted marriages of their girls with Chinese men for ‘bright future’, but their dreams faded away.