The Lahore High Court on Friday accepted a petition by Muslim and Christian women married to Chinese nationals who sought action against the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) for illegally keeping them from travelling to China with their husbands.
According to the petition — which has named the foreign ministry, the chief secretary for Punjab and the director of Federal Investigation Agency as respondents — Sameah Tabassum and Shabana Ashiq, who had married their respective Chinese husbands in January, were offloaded from a China-bound flight along with their husbands on May 7.
According to the petition, the women were then kept in custody by FIA officials for several hours at the airport while their husbands were forced to go back to China.
The petition stated that the women were happy with their husbands and that “a propaganda on social media was looking to bring a bad name to Pak-China friendship”.
The petition sought that FIA be stopped from harassing women and their Chinese husbands, and that the petitioners’ passports and other documents be returned to them.
The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has over the past three weeks arrested scores of Chinese nationals and their suspected local abettors from various parts of the country in connection with its investigation into a transnational gang allegedly involved in contracting fake marriages between Chinese men and Pakistani women, who are later forced into prostitution and the illegal organ trade.
The Foreign Office has backed the Chinese government’s stance on the matter and said that Beijing has offered Islamabad “all possible cooperation” in the matter.
“The relevant authorities from both the governments are in close contact on this issue,” the spokesperson had said in a press release. “The government of China had offered all possible cooperation on the issue, which was highly appreciated. Both sides are closely coordinating their efforts.”
The FO spokesperson also appeared to endorse the Chinese embassy’s statement, which said that “it is essential to avoid sensationalism” and that “sensitive matters should be reported only on the basis of established facts.”