ISLAMABAD: In a rare expression of displeasure, Saudi Arabia will lodge an official protest about the incident on Thursday evening at the Islamabad Airport where a Saudi national was badly thrashed by Airport Security Force (ASF) officials without any plausible reason in the presence of his two teenage sons and a number of other people.
Shukri Saeed Al-Shehri, a Saudi citizen who arrived at the airport to see off his two sons who had to board a Saudi-bound flight, and who was carrying genuine documents with him, became a victim of ASF personnel at the entrance of the main building of the airport. The ASF personnel first started a quarrel with him, profusely abused him and then beat him with fists, rifle-butts and rods in the presence of dozens of people.
Saudi Ambassador in Pakistan Dr Abdul Aziz bin Ibrahim Saleh Al-Ghadeer, who was unwell, rushed to the airport. He was also denied due protocol at the airport but he managed to reach his fellow national with the help of his own security personnel. Shukri, who was copiously bleeding, was shifted to a hospital in Rawalpindi where doctors advised to take him to the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS), Islamabad. The ambassador travelled with Shukri to PIMS where a brief surgery was performed on his fractured nose. He was later admitted in the VIP ward of the hospital.
Federal Secretary Defence and Cabinet Nargis Sethi was the first high level official who took notice of the incident and ordered an immediate high level inquiry into it. She sought a report within four hours after reporting the matter to Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani.
Later, federal ministers Chaudhry Ahmad Mukhtar and Rehman Malik also established contact with the ambassador to express their sympathy and regret about the incident. Meanwhile, Airport Manager Muhammad Ashfaq has conceded that ASF personnel have committed a blatantly excessive act and acted in the manner for which no justification could be given.
Shukri Saeed Al-Shehri is reportedly an officer working for the defence division of the embassy in Islamabad and his one son left for Riyadh on his way to home town Khamees Mashait. The information reached the Saudi capital immediately and Ambassador Dr Abdul Aziz Ibrahim Saleh Al-Ghadeer received several calls from his capital to ascertain the facts about the incident.
Chief Commissioner Islamabad Syed Tariq Peerzada and IG Police Bani Amin were the first to reach the PIMS to receive the ambassador and helped in shifting the injured Shukri. Talking to The News, Saudi Ambassador Dr Abdul Aziz said he has failed to understand the reasons for this harsh and unjustifiable action by people in uniform at the airport for a citizen of a brotherly country. He said a formal protest would be conveyed today (Friday).