Regulating Chinese citizens in Pakistan

The Federal Minister for Interior Chaudhry Nisar has announced that the government is planning to review and strictly regulate its visa policy for Chinese citizens visiting and working in Pakistan. This came after the abduction and reported killing of two Chinese nationals in Baluchistan a few days ago. Instead of of focusing on the crime and security lapse, the interior ministry appears to be more interested in blaming the victims of this ordeal and claimed that the slain Chinese citizens were involved in “preaching” whatever that may be. In response to the situation, the interior ministry has announced the Chinese visa policy to be streamlined. Visa applications will be carefully reviewed to gather all the necessary information, and it will be ensured that no one violates the terms and conditions of the visa granted to them. National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) will be involved in the process to create a data bank of the Chinese nationals present in various parts of the country.

The lame attempts by interior ministry of shifting the blame aside, this is a real cause of concern that how the foreign nationals were able to get Pakistani visas and then travel to a sensitive part of country without any security agency or institution knowing. There are also some other worrying development regarding Chinese nationals in recent days. An accountability court in Peshawar has issued arrest warrants of three female Chinese directors of a mining company, Tuny Pak Mineral Private Limited, after they failed to appear in a case of alleged smuggling of a chemical substance antimony. This highlights how easy it is for foreign individuals to enter the state and act according to their own will and then disappear without consequence. These foreign citizens must be regulated no matter which country the belong from. In this sense, the plan pf action by Interior ministry is the need of hour but one must ask that why wasn’t it implemented till now.

Although protecting the foreigners present in the country is certainly the duty of Pakistan and it clearly needs to do better in its protection of Chinese nationals, and indeed all foreigners, the Chinese nationals too need to comply fully with Pakistani law and cooperate as much as possible with officials. While the Pakistani visa regime is further improved, Chinese authorities should advise their nationals of all relevant Pakistani laws and discourage the misuse of any loopholes. This is a shared responsibility of all the parties including security agencies of Pakistan and Chinese Govt also. As the China Pakistan, Economic corridor grows in size and importance, so will the influx of Chinese citizens and it will automatically raise the threat level to them. There is a dire need of well thought out monitoring and security plan which must be devise and implemented before such grieve incident gets repeated.

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Mian Bilal

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