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Monday, March 20, 2023

Matchmaking Centres in Pakistan: A new threat to Pak-China friendship?

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News Analysis |

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Lahore has arrested 13 Chinese men during raids in DHA and divine Garden in Lahore on Wednesday. There are some reports suggesting two Pakistani women were also recovered. During last few days citizens on social media have been claiming that several Chinese men are involved with human trafficking in Pakistan.

Chinese men arrested on charges of marrying Pakistani women and then forcing them into prostitution include Wang Hao, Shoi Sheli, Wong Yhazou, Chang Shail Rai, Pan Khowajay, Wang Bao, Zaothi and Kaindisko.

Media reports claim the men were arrested from a house in a private society in Lahore. They were all said to be part of the same group. The FIA Lahore stated that they were part of a gang which comprised of three men and a woman from Pakistan.

Chinese Embassy has made it clear that the Chinese authorities are in contact with their Pakistani counterparts and cooperating to counter such criminal activities.

A spokesman for the Interior Ministry said: “Some private marriage bureaus were involved in these marriages and most of the complaints were received from Lahore and Abbottabad”.

Analysts believe that such heinous crimes committed by the individuals or groups from either side might lead to an undesirable situation between Pakistan and China. Pak-China economic relations and efforts to increase people-to-people contacts have been the target of western media and scholars. It is a dominant discourse developed by the western scholars that Pakistan and China are two different civilizations and any effort to let the Chinese come to Pakistan will adversely impact the social fabric of Pakistan.

Ahmed Ali Naqvi, Lecturer in Political Science at PU, Lahore, in his study “A Constructivist Analysis of CPEC” pointed out that the economic relations without considering the cultural differences may prove not as beneficial as most of the policy makers in Pakistan are expecting. It is believed that the incidents of human trafficking shall raise serious questions if both states do not take the matter seriously.

Read more: FIA arrests Chinese, Pakistani sex traffickers

Chinese Embassy’s Response

Responding to the reports, the Chinese Embassy in Islamabad issued a statement after a female lawmaker voiced her concerns over the issue in parliament denying the reports of illegal organ selling; however, it cautioned against unlawful matchmaking centres involved in these marriages to earn a profit. “We notice that recently some unlawful matchmaking centres made illegal profits from brokering cross-national marriages. Both Chinese and Pakistani youths are victims of these illegal agents. Chinese laws and regulations strictly prohibit cross-national matchmaking centres,” the statement said.

It further said “no individual is allowed to engage in any form of such activity by deception or for profit. The Chinese government also strictly prohibits any organization or individual from buying, selling human organs in any form and engaging in such activities. For those who constitute a crime, criminal responsibility shall be investigated in accordance with the law”.

Read more: Norwegian Pakistanis join hands to stop forced marriages

Chinese Embassy has made it clear that the Chinese authorities are in contact with their Pakistani counterparts and cooperating to counter such criminal activities. “China is cooperating with Pakistani law enforcement agencies to crack down on illegal matchmaking centres. We remind both Chinese and Pakistani citizens to remain vigilant and not to be cheated. We also welcome valuable clues to combat such offences. At the same time, it is hoped that reports should be based on the facts. We hope that the public does not believe in misleading information and work together to safeguard China-Pakistan friendship,” the statement added.