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China to Help Pakistan Probe ‘Preaching’ by Kidnapped Citizens

by AFP

File Photo. A. Majeed—AFP

Beijing says it expects all its citizens to abide by local laws and regulations while visiting foreign countries

China on Wednesday said it would cooperate with Pakistani authorities to investigate whether two Chinese citizens who were allegedly killed by the Islamic State group had been illegally preaching in Pakistan.

China was “intensifying” efforts to verify whether the two Chinese citizens were indeed killed following their abduction, adding that Pakistan has yet to confirm their deaths. The jihadist I.S. group claimed last week that it had killed the Chinese man and woman.

Pakistan’s interior ministry said in a statement that the Chinese citizens had entered the country on business visas but instead “were actually engaged in preaching” in Quetta. It did not specify what kind of preachers they were. “We always require the Chinese citizens to abide by the local laws and regulations in traveling or living in foreign countries and to respect the customs of the local people,” foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a regular press briefing. “On the information of possible preaching by these two people, we will cooperate with Pakistan to investigate for further information,” Lu said.

Beijing is ramping up investment in its South Asian neighbor as part of a plan unveiled in 2015 that will link its far-western Xinjiang region to Gwadar port in Balochistan with a series of infrastructure, power and transport upgrades.

Pakistan has been battling Islamist and nationalist insurgencies in mineral-rich Balochistan since 2004, with hundreds of soldiers and militants killed in the fighting. The I.S. group has been making inroads in the country through alliances with local militant outfits, although its presence is generally downplayed by the government.

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