Pakistan's PJ: Saudi Crown Prince MBS awarded for ‘humanitarian action’. Irony is dead. (Like Jamal Khashoggi)
It doesn't get funnier than this. A prize for 'humanitarian action'. Given to the Saudi crown prince. And bestowed by Pakistan.
- Total Shares
Pakistan has declared Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) the 'global influential figure' of 2018.
Before this news sinks in, let’s see what the Pakistani media is saying about this.
There is absolute silence in Pakistan's media so far about this honour extended to MBS — soon after he loosened his purse in Pakistan.
It is the Saudi media that’s hyperventilating on how their MBS has been recognised for his relentless efforts and noble deeds in serving Islam and Muslims; for his care of the two holy mosques; for championing key humanitarian issues, including Palestine, Yemen, Syria and the protection of Muslim minorities.
According to Arab News, he was also recognised for his support of Pakistan — and the peace process with neighbouring India.
So, is this a joke, a really bad one? Because it was in 2018 that Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed, apart from several other human rights violations taking place ever so often on Saudi soil.
No, this is not a joke.
Brothers in arms: The rest of the world may soon start envying how they have each other's back. (Photo: Reuters)
This is strategically erasing one narrative in favour of another.
Social media is up in arms against this strategic cleansing attempt of MBS’ image by Pakistan. But there’s more here than meets the eye.
This never-heard-of-before honour is not coming straight from Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan or his ‘army’ of ministers. This has been conferred on MBS by the All Pakistan Ulema Council — a high-level religious body comprising scholars and clerics. And the certificate was presented by the President of Pakistan, Arif-ur Rehman Alvi.
So, the Crown Prince is the most influential figure of 2018. Is it so?
And it only took six months to turn things around.
In October 2018, the Khashoggi episode ushered in a torrential time in the US-Saudi relationship.
But we guess that’s also over as the US State Department’s human rights report for 2018, released last month, does not mention MBS’ name.
According to reports, it also does not mention US intelligence reports which earlier reportedly exposed how MBS, in all probability, ordered Khashoggi's killing.
In this context, it’s only fair that Pakistan also does its bit to exonerate MBS — taking a nice religious route.
Because there’s nothing further that Pakistan can do now to sing its paeans to MBS.
When MBS visited Pakistan — and agreed to invest $20 billion there — the happy day was announced as a public holiday. PM Imran Khan, clearly overjoyed at what is small change for the Saudis, personally drove MBS home from the airport. Pakistan’s highest civilian award, Nishan-e-Pakistan, has already been conferred on MBS. So, this was only the next logical step.
Driving home the point: Imran Khan shocked many with his visible attempts to please MBS. (Photo: Twitter)
For those still quibbling, please do note, Pakistan’s idea of 'global influence' begins and ends with China. And MBS’s recent China visit has impressed China — despite its ties with Saudi’s arch-rival Iran.
The House of Saud, MBS’ family, is famous for its defence of Muslims across the world. Pakistan’s award to MBS also falls along the same lines.
But it doesn't matter that MBS apparently supports China's crackdown on the Uighur Muslim minority. Imran Khan, too, doesn't know very much about this.
There can't be any better friendship in world politics right now.