A few months ago, the CIA released a report on the murder of the Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Ahmed Khashoggi, briefing that the brutal murder was conducted under the orders of the Saudi Crown Prince, Muhammad Bin Salman. Ever since, the royalty has become a thorn in the eyes of journalists and humanitarians worldwide. Let’s not forget that this murderous prince is also the architect of the on-going Saudi war on Yemen and directly responsible for the millions of hungry and homeless Yemeni people, including women and children. As you might have noticed, there is not just one reason for people to despise the existence of Bin Salman. In such a situation, he decided to embark upon an Asia tour to “boost his image” and the first stop is, very unfortunately, Pakistan.
There has been quite an aggressive reaction to the announcement of his visit to Pakistan by a fraction of the population. Twitter hashtags have been launched and protests have been seen in Rawalpindi, so much that the country’s Ministry of Interior had to issue a report about the situation on the country’s digital and physical platforms, suggesting PTA and FIA a list of actions to take in order to control it.
Pakistan’s increasingly close ties with the Saudi government are not despised by the locals for humanitarian reasons only. By taking a brief look at the history of Pakistan-Saudi ties, one can easily note that the influx of Saudi aid to Pakistan is directly proportional to the levels at which Wahhabist terrorist groups based in Pakistan function. To quote the award-winning journalist of Al-Jazeera, Taha Siddiqui: “The Saudis are now promising another multi-billion investment, which may just bail out the country from the financial crisis it is in, but these funds are unlikely to be granted unconditionally. Saudi Arabia has strategic interests in Pakistan given its proximity to Iran, Riyadh’s archrival in the region.”
Siddiqui, in his article titled “Why Pakistan should not take Saudi money,” argues that: “The Saudis are using aid packages and investment promises to buy the economically embattled Pakistani government’s loyalty and convince it to turn a blind eye to their destructive actions within Pakistan’s borders.”
For way too long, Pakistan has been accused by America and India of supporting terrorist groups within its borders, and rightly so; because what is the difference between directly supporting a terrorist organization and standing by their extravagant, Rial-laden sponsors?
There’s an urgent need of the current Pakistani government led by Mr. Khan to understand both the sentiments of the Pakistani public and the hazards of the procurement of any more “aid” packages from the royalty. Or else, start counting down days to it’s downfall.
Photo: Sajjad Qayyum, AFP