While we readily boast of our everlasting friendship with neighbour China, there are certain grounds which prove uncertainty on part of the Chinese government in terms of how much do they want to engage with Pakistan. There is no doubt about China’s commitment to economic growth in Pakistan and we see the result in the form of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), but the mergence of the Chinese population with the Pakistani population is one aspect which China heavily monitors. The fact that the Uighur Muslim minority in the region surrounding the Pakistan-China border has witnessed a large number of Chinese females disappearing is a cause of concern.

These women, based on their own individual consent, married Pakistani individuals. However, the Chinese state interfered and did not let them travel back to their husbands when they crossed the border to China along with their children. This shows a huge lack of trust on part of the Chinese state and a condemnable attempt to control the activities of their population; even individuals who have willingly moved to other parts of the world.

The first thing to notice is the humanitarian ground involved in the process. Dividing families and not allowing the fathers to contact their family members is a clear violation of the human rights guaranteed under the Human Rights Charter of the United Nation. At the same time, they declare it as a security concern; claiming that such relations can allow an influx of terrorist into the Chinese soil. However, if there was a terrorism concern, the Pakistani government should have been involved in the process.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry is also absolutely clueless as to why there is no contact between the families. The concerned fathers are not even allowed to cross the border and a single call from Pakistan is considered a threat. This is at odds with the respect with which the Chinese population is treated here in Pakistan. The government has taken extra initiatives to not only ensure their safety but also their integration into the society. There should be strict action against these disappearances from the Pakistani side. If there is to be economic cooperation, it needs to come with mutual respect for the citizens of each country. These disappearances will create a divide amongst the Pakistani population, and history is witness to how great integration occurs if Pakistanis do not approve of a particular nation.