Pakistan Halts Investigation Into Sale of 629 Pakistani Brides to China, Fearing Retaliation From Beijing

An investigation into the trafficking of more than 600 Pakistani girls and women, who were sold as brides to Chinese men and taken to China in the space of 18 months, was halted over fears it would harm ties with Beijing, an alarming report has found.

Witnesses and investigators were threatened and pressured into silence with bribes from Pakistan government officials fearful of hurting Pakistans lucrative ties to Beijing, an investigation from The Associated Press (AP) found.

The news agency obtained a list containing the names of the 629 girls and women, compiled by Pakistani investigators determined to break up trafficking networks exploiting the countrys poor and vulnerable.

The biggest case against traffickers has fallen apart, with a court in Faisalabad acquitting 31 Chinese nationals in October who were charged in connection with trafficking. Several women who police had initially interviewed refused to testify due to threats from government officials, a court official and a police investigator familiar with the case told AP.

Detained Chinese nationals, accused of involvement in a trafficking gang to lure Pakistani women into fake marriages, try to shield their faces while they are escorted by Pakistans Federal Investigation Agency officers to court in Lahore, Pakistan, on May 11, 2019. (K.M. Chaudary/AP Photo)

Saleem Iqbal, a Christian activist who helped parents rescue a number of young girls from China and prevent the trafficking of others, told AP the government has been putting “immense pressure” on officials from the Federal Investigation Agency pursuing trafficking networks, effectively curtailing investigations.

“Some [FIA officials] were even transferred,” Iqbal said. “When we talk to Pakistani rulers, they dont pay any attention.”

Saleem Iqbal
Saleem Iqbal
Christian activist Saleem Iqbal talks to The Associated Press regarding Pakistani brides trafficked to China, in Faisalabad, Pakistan, on Nov. 11, 2019. (K.M. Chaudary/AP Photo)

A senior official familiar with the events told the agency on condition of anoRead More – Source