News Analysis |
Turkish officials have been granted access to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul who, as per the Turkish authorities a murder of a Saudi journalist took place. Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi Journalist who contributed opinion articles for Washington Post and also known to be the staunch critic of Prince Mohammed Bin Salman visited the consulate two days back.
He was seen entering the consulate in the CCTV footage but no evidence whatsoever has been presented by Saudi Arabia maintaining that he left soon after. According to Turkish authorities, Khashoggi was murdered inside the consulate and his body subsequently removed. Contrary to the claims made from the Turkish side, they have also not been able to present the evidence which could undeniably establish the heinous crime being committed inside the Saudi Consulate.
The situation presents a difficult scenario for Pakistan as it is not exactly the point which can be diverted through manoeuvres like a neutral stance. The consulates cannot be allowed to be used as an instrument for state crimes.
The world leaders have expressed concern over the mysterious disappearance of the renowned Saudi Journalist. US President Donald Trump has said he is concerned about Mr. Khashoggi, while US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on Saudi Arabia to “support a thorough investigation” of his disappearance and “to be transparent about the results”. UN experts have also demanded a “prompt independent and international investigation” into his disappearance. UK foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt meanwhile tweeted that he had spoken to the Saudi ambassador and that the UK “will treat the incident seriously” if reports are accurate.
Just met the Saudi ambassador to seek urgent answers over Jamal Khashoggi. Violence against journalists worldwide is going up & is a grave threat to freedom of expression. If media reports prove correct, we will treat the incident seriously – friendships depend on shared values.
— Jeremy Hunt (@Jeremy_Hunt) October 9, 2018
The matter poses an urgency on part of Turkish law enforcement as they have to establish that a person such as Jamal Khashoggi has not disappeared into thin air under their watch. Therefore they will be trying their best to relate the disappearance, possible murder, of the journalist with the background he carried for his view against the Saudi monarchy.
Because of the excessive surveillance which the significant buildings such as the consulates are under, it should not be hard for Saudi Arabia to present the video evidence of him leaving the consulate but failure to do so has led to speculations gaining momentum that the state apparatus was used to silence a defying voice.
Contrary to the claims made from the Turkish side, they have also not been able to present the evidence which could undeniably establish the heinous crime being committed inside the Saudi Consulate.
Apparently, Jamal Khashoggi was also aware of the threat to his life who left his fiancé waiting outside the consulate with the instruction to contact Turkish authorities if he did not return. Speaking to BBC just three days before his disappearance, Mr. Khashoggi responded to a question about his return to Saudi Arabia in these words, “I don’t think I’ll be able to go home,” saying that in Saudi Arabia “the people who are arrested are not even dissidents”.
He wished he had a platform at home to write and speak freely at this time of “great transformation” in his country. So far the response and attitude of the Saudi Government has been very meticulous and calculated offering complete cooperation with the Turkish Authorities. Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, who was openly criticized by Jamal Khashoggi, while speaking to Bloomberg said that the Saudi government is keen to know about the whereabouts of the journalist and offers any sort of help which the authorities deem necessary.
But as the investigations would proceed ahead, and Turkish officials will keep on accusing the State of Saudi Arabia, since the consulates and embassies are sovereign territories, there is a potential of a standoff between the two governments which might get ugly. If assertions are later proved to be true, it would mark a new level of gruesome state oppression which the State of Saudi Arabia employs to silence the dissident voices.
And with all the close economic and military cooperation, the West, especially the United States of America, would not be able to look away and certain punitive measures had to be taken. In recent times, after the nerve agent attack on the Russian double agent in the UK, Saudi Arabia is unlikely to get away with the matter if the issue if not resolved soon.
The situation presents a difficult scenario for Pakistan as it is not exactly the point which can be diverted through manoeuvres like a neutral stance. The consulates cannot be allowed to be used as an instrument for state crimes. Owing to the less tolerant nature of current Saudi regime, a condemnation and demand for an international law to take its course in this matter might lead Pakistan into the bad books of Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, which is seen in the recent standoff with Canada.