Chinese nationals face tighter visa rules in Pakistan after duo kidnapped and killed

Chinese nationals seeking to renew Pakistan business visas would need referral letters and long-term business visa extensions under the revised rules

PUBLISHED : Friday, 23 June, 2017, 10:10am
UPDATED : Friday, 23 June, 2017, 10:39pm

Pakistan is tightening business visa requirements for Chinese applicants in the wake of the alleged killing of two mainlanders by Islamic State extremists this month.

Under the revised rules for renewing existing liberal business visas, Chinese nationals would need to get referral letters and long-term business visa extensions from higher authorities in Pakistan, the Pakistan newspaper, the Dawn, reported.

The changes come after two Chinese nationals, Lee Zing Yang, 24 and Meng Lisi, 26, were abducted by Islamic State extremists in the Pakistan city of Quetta on May 24.

The Dawn reported that Chinese nationals seeking business visas would be asked to “present an invitation from a recognised body at Pakistan’s missions in China”, citing a meeting chaired by Pakistan Interior Minister Chaudhary Nisar Ali Khan.

Meanwhile, regional passport offices would no longer be able to grant visa extensions, since applications would be processed by higher authorities in the country’s capital, Islamabad, according to the report.

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A ministry spokesman did not respond to the South China Morning Post’s calls and email enquiries. But the changes also were reported by multiple newspapers in Pakistan and India.

An official with the Pakistan Consulate in Hong Kong who declined to be named told the Post that the killings of the two Chinese nationals “gave a bad name” to the country. Pakistan is desperately trying to “avoid” a recurrence of similar incidents, the official said.

The Dawn reported that Chinese nationals seeking business visas would be asked to “present an invitation from a recognised body at Pakistan’s missions in China”, citing a meeting chaired by Pakistan Interior Minister Chaudhary Nisar Ali Khan.

Meanwhile, regional passport offices would no longer be able to grant visa extensions, since applications would be processed by higher authorities in the country’s capital, Islamabad, according to the report.

A ministry spokesman did not respond to the South China Morning Post’s calls and email enquiries. But the changes also were reported by multiple newspapers in Pakistan and India.

Two Chinese kidnapped in Pakistan ‘were preachers, not teachers’

An official with the Pakistan Consulate in Hong Kong who declined to be named told the Post that the killings of the two Chinese nationals “gave a bad name” to the country. Pakistan is desperately trying to “avoid” a recurrence of similar incidents, the official said.

“We are not putting more restrictions, but Pakistan wants to make sure [foreign visitors] are safe and secure and yet free to move,” the official said. However, measures would be taken to ensure that business visa applicants are indeed carrying out business activities in Pakistan, he said, without elaborating.

At least 19,000 mainlanders have stayed in Pakistan since 2014, he said.

An ongoing investigation aims to clarify details about the controversial killings of Lee and Meng, who were said by Pakistani authorities to have been studying Urdu with about 10 other Chinese before their abduction.

On June 8, the Islamic State militant news agency claimed Lee and Meng had been killed by the group’s fighters. The report came just hours after the Pakistan Army issued a statement saying that a three-day operation against IS-linked terrorists in the Mastung area of Balochistan resulted in 12 terrorists being killed in their cave hideouts.

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Pakistan and Chinese authorities both blamed the duo for “preaching illegally” at the instruction of a South Korean missionary. However, a South Korean foreign ministry official denied the accusation, saying there was no evidence the Chinese were guided by a South Korean missionary, the Hindustan Times reported.

Calls have since increased for the Pakistan authorities to reveal details about the deaths of the two Chinese.

Within days after the pair were confirmed dead, Khan, the Pakistan interior minister, ordered a review of visas issued to Chinese nationals while taking steps to share the data with security agencies to increase security for Chinese in Pakistan.