ISTANBUL: A Turkish prosecutor has demanded that arrest warrants be issued against two Saudi nationals close to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a Turkish source close to the investigation said Wednesday.
Khashoggi, 59, was killed shortly after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 to obtain paperwork for his upcoming marriage.
The chief prosecutor’s office in Istanbul filed an application Tuesday to obtain the warrants for Ahmad al-Assiri and Saud al-Qahtani, described in court documents as being “among the planners” of the murder of the Washington Post contributor Khashoggi.
Assiri often sat in during Prince Mohammed’s closed-door meetings with visiting foreign dignitaries and Qahtani was a key counselor to the crown prince. Both were sacked after Riyadh admitted Khashoggi was killed in the Saudi consulate.
According to Turkey, a 15-member Saudi team was sent to Istanbul to kill Khashoggi.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said the order to kill Khashoggi came from the highest levels of the Saudi government but has insisted it was not King Salman.
Riyadh has since detained 21 people over the murder. Despite speculation that the powerful crown prince ordered the hit, the kingdom has strongly denied he was involved.
But two key US Republican senators said a Tuesday briefing by the CIA’s director only strengthened their conviction that Prince Mohammed directed the murder.
The Istanbul prosecutor in charge of the investigation said in late October that the Saudi former insider turned critic was strangled then his body was cut into pieces.
The remains of Khashoggi’s body have not been found.
There has been speculation in pro-government media that his body was dissolved in acid.
A senior Turkish official Wednesday said the prosecutor’s move “reflects the view that the Saudi authorities won’t take formal action against those individuals”.
The official, who did not wish to be named, pointed to the fact that the wording of the prosecutor’s request suggested that the current list wasn’t necessarily exhaustive, appearing to indicate that more arrest warrants could be sought.
Amid criticism from Ankara over Saudi Arabia’s lack of cooperation with the Turkish investigation, the official said Riyadh could “address those concerns” over its commitment to probing the murder by extraditing all the suspects to Turkey.
Easter: 160 killed, 300 injured in bomb blasts in S.Lankan cities
COLOMBO: 160 people (including six foreigners) lost their lives while three hundred got wounded in six blasts in different cities of SriLanka on Easter Sunday.
According to details three churches (Colombo’s St. Anthony’s Shrine, Negombo’s St. Sebastian’s Church, Batticaloa’s Zion Church) and three high-end hotels (Cinnamon Grand, Shangri-La, Kingsbury) were targeted simultaneously at 8:45 am local time.
According to Police, at least 43 were killed in Colombo while 10 in Batticaloa blasts.
FM says Pakistan to fence border with Iran
ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said today that Pakistan would fence its border with Iran to prevent recurrence of Omara like terror attacks from across the border.
He was talking to journalists here at a Presser. FM held that actionable forensic evidence had been shared with the Iranian government showing links of the terrorists with the neighboring country, besides the presence of their logistics and training camps located across the border. Iran, he hoped, would take ‘visible’ action against the elements, who used its soil to carry out Thursday’s terrorist attack in Balochistan. He said Pakistan and Iran would set up joint border centers at six points for surveillance along the border.
Qureshi said Pakistan wanted to know the factors behind the Omara incident in which 14 passengers were killed after being offloaded from the bus. The victims included 10 soldiers of the Pakistan Navy and three of the Pakistan Air Force, besides a coastguard. He said the Baloch Raaji-Aajohi e-Sangar (BRAS), an alliance of three Baloch terrorist organizations, had claimed the responsibility for the incident in which the killers were clad in Frontier Corps (FC) uniforms. The Baloch terrorist outfits had set up their logistics camps inside the Iranian border area and that had also been conveyed to the Iranian authorities, he added.
He said Pakistan and Iran enjoyed fraternal ties and hoped that Tehran would act against the perpetrators of the incident as had been assured by his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif in a detailed telephonic conversation with him. He said the Iranian foreign minister had termed the attack an attack on the security of both Pakistan and Iran. The foreign minister said Afghanistan should also take action against the anti-Pakistan elements operating from its soil. He said Prime Minister Imran Khan was scheduled to visit Iran on Sunday, during which security issues would be discussed in detail. He said considering the prevailing security situation, Pakistan had decided to take six security measures to avoid recurrence of cross-border terrorism.
Qureshi said a special command based in Balochistan’s Turbat area had been set up, besides raising a new corps to increase border patrolling. It has also been decided that aerial surveillance of the Pak-Iran border would also be done through helicopters, he added. Like Afghanistan, he said, the Iranian border would also be fenced. Though the fencing of 950 kilometers long border would be costly it was need of the hour, he added. He said Iran had demanded necessary action from Pakistan when its security officials were abducted and shifted to Pakistan. The action was accordingly taken and nine out of 12 abducted Iranian personnel were rescued by the Pakistani forces, he added.
Responding to a question, he said the timing of Omara incident was important, which showed that the elements behind it did not want peace in the region. He said Pakistan and Iran had historical relationships. Pakistan could overcome its energy crisis from buying gas from Iran, but international sanctions against the latter were impeding the process. To another question, he said it was a known fact as to which country was backing such terrorist organizations and supplying weapons to carry out insurgency and bring instability in Pakistan. He said despite worsening human rights situation in the Indian occupied Kashmir, Pakistan intended to normalize relations with India.
Anti-encroachment drive continues in Rawalpindi
RAWALPINDI: Municipal Corporation Rawalpindi (MCR) confiscated two loaded trucks from different areas of the city under its ongoing anti-encroachment drive.
A spokesman of the corporation told APP that the teams of MCR raided at Murree Road, Committee Chowk, Iqbal Road, Liaquat road and removed illegal sheds, cemented constructions, banners, cleared footpaths and confiscated two loaded trucks with goods.
A spokesman said the enforcement staff would continue the operation and violators would be fined besides confiscating their goods, adding that despite repeated warnings, the encroachments have not been removed. Now onward strict action in accordance with the law would be taken, the spokesman added.