Pakistan's interior ministry has said the two Chinese nationals who were kidnapped and killed by Islamic State-affiliated militants last month were preachers who allegedly violated their business visa rules.
According to Reuters, the terrorist-linked Amaq News Agency announced last Thursday that IS (also known as ISIS, ISIL or Daesh) was responsible for the killing of two Chinese nationals who were abducted last month in the Baluchistan province and were believed to be Mandarin language teachers.
"Islamic State fighters killed two Chinese people they had been holding in Baluchistan province, southwest Pakistan," Amaq was quoted as announcing in a statement.
On Monday, the Pakistani government identified the the two Chinese nationals killed as 24-year-old Lee Zingyang and 26-year-old Meng Lisi. The interior ministry also claimed that both Lee and Meng were in violation of their visa rules because they were preaching instead of learning Urdu.
"Instead of engaging in any business activity, they went to Quetta and under the garb of learning (the) Urdu language from a Korean national ... were actually engaged in preaching," Reuters quoted the ministry as saying in a statement.
The statement didn't indicate whether the Korean national was from South Korea or North Korea or what the Chinese nationals were preaching.
According to the online news outlet Quartz, The Global Times and Shanghai-based The Paper, the slain Chinese nationals belonged to a 13-member Christian missionary group in China being led by a South Korean national.
Quartz also cited Chinese reports indicating that a local Muslim community complained about the group trying to evangelize to them. Additionally, Quartz reports that a Chinese journalist has said that Chinese foreign ministry officials briefed reporters in a closed-door session and gave them much of the same information that has been reported.Following the killing of the two Chinese nationals, Pakistan's interior ministry has decided to "streamline" its visa policy for Chinese nationals, Pakistan's The Nation quoted a ministry spokesperson as saying.
According to The Nation, Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan called for a databank of Chinese nationals present in Pakistan during a meeting.
"This databank, to be prepared by National Database and Registration Authority, should be shared with all security agencies," the minister said, reiterating their claim that the deceased Chinese nationals violated the terms of their visas.
The killing of the two Chinese Christians come as IS has attempted in the last year to establish its presence in Pakistan, just like it has in Iraq, Syria, Egypt and Afghanistan. IS-linked militants have carried out a number of attacks in Pakistan this year, including a suicide bombing at the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in Sehwan that killed at least 90 and injured over 300 in February.Last month, IS claimed a bomb attack on a convoy of Senate Deputy Chairman Abdul Ghafoor Haideri south of Quetta that killed 25 people.
Additionally, this is not the first time that IS has claimed responsibility for the killing Chinese nationals.
In 2015, IS in Syria killed 50-year-old Beijing native Fan Jinghui who was held hostage for months.