‘We buried five workers alive’

Updated 16 March 2014
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‘We buried five workers alive’

Three men confessed in the Qatif General Court on Wednesday to torturing five Asian workers for hours and then burying them alive, according to local media.
The decomposing bodies of the five Asian workers, believed to be Indian nationals, were found on a farm in Safwa, Qatif, earlier this month. They were killed in 2010.
The Eastern Province police have arrested 25 people in connection with the killing of the five Asian workers, a source said on Wednesday.
The suspects include expatriates and citizens. They are being held at Safwa police station.
One man, describing events four years ago, said he was driving around with a friend using drugs and alcohol when he received a call from another friend at around 10 p.m. who asked to see him immediately at a farm.
“We had alcohol with us when we arrived at the farm,” he said.
“We saw five workers with their hands tied in the seating area. When the friend with me asked why they were tied, our host said that one of them had sexually harassed his sponsor’s daughter and other women,” the man told the court.
“I saw that the five Indian workers were tied and unconscious, just before we went to another room to drink alcohol and smoke hashish. While we were drinking, I heard one of them screaming so I went out and slapped him in the face,” he said.
“Later the friend who came with me left the room with a stick and hit the worker until he bled. We then took them all into another room,” he said.
“The three of us continued beating the workers on different parts of their bodies while continuing to drink and smoke,” the man said.
“We kept drinking, smoking and beating them,” he said.
“Our host suggested we bury them alive in a hole behind the entrance gate of the farm,” he said.
“We tied them again with ropes and adhesive tape so they could not move,” he said.
The man said their host brought his pickup truck and the three loaded the workers onto it. They then dumped them into a 2.5-meter-deep hole, he said.
“We buried them alive with all their identity cards. At the time for the dawn prayer my friend and I left the farm, while our host remained there alone.”
Police have concluded that the five people were killed in 2010, the source said.
The discovery of the human remains happened by chance. A man, Ali Habib, who had rented the land from its elderly woman owner, was clearing it to start farming when he made the grisly discovery. The woman had rented the land to another person before Habib.
Investigators then found an engraved gold ring and residence cards that helped them to identify some of the victims and several suspects.
The decomposed bodies were found with ropes around their arms and legs and their mouths filled with cotton and covered with duct tape.
Habib, who rented the 20,000-square-meter farm east of Safwa two years ago, said it was deserted and contained a lot of waste. He had first dug up a human thighbone, and eventually found the first body after digging further.
Habib initially thought the remains were those of a dead animal, but discovered undergarments next to the body.


Saudi Crown Prince takes Pakistan bond ‘to new level’

Updated 18 February 2019
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Saudi Crown Prince takes Pakistan bond ‘to new level’

  • Asseri said Saudi Arabia has deferred payments on oil worth billions of US dollars from time to time in order to ease pressure on the Pakistan economy
  • Pakistan’s relatively young population is also hoping for a stronger relationship with the Kingdom

RIYADH: A major transformation is underway in Saudi Arabia’s economic relationship with Pakistan, according to Dr. Ali Awadh Asseri, a former ambassador to Islamabad.

In a wide-ranging interview with Arab News, the former envoy said greater interaction between business and the private sectors in both countries will take the historical bond “to a new level.” 

Asseri, who spent nine years in Islamabad and was the second-longest serving Saudi ambassador to the country, said: “We know that Saudi Arabia and Pakistan have always enjoyed an incomparable level of understanding and friendship based on religion, culture and values. There is a historical bond between the two countries. 

“I have no doubt that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is taking a cohesive approach to strengthen the relationship and take it to another level.” 

Asseri said that while Saudi Arabia and Pakistan cooperated closely on security matters, bilateral trade between the countries remained limited to about $4 billion. 

“We need to ... encourage the private sectors to interact more. We can help Pakistan’s industry and we need to become more involved in the trade sector. There are advanced industries and firms in Pakistan, and they have raw materials — it’s a good environment for investors.”

Asseri said Saudi Arabia has deferred payments on oil worth billions of US dollars from time to time in order to ease pressure on the Pakistan economy. The Kingdom is also making billion-dollar direct investments in the country in line with the China-Pakistan economic corridor. 

“I am happy to see a major transformation underway in Saudi-Pakistani economic relationships with our leadership and government deciding to invest in the economic development of Pakistan,” he said. 

The former ambassador said frequent official visits between the two countries were important. 

“I came back recently from Pakistan, and the vibe of the media, government and people was so optimistic. Pakistanis were excited about the crown prince’s visit. People hope it will bring great opportunities for the economy as well as strengthening the political and social ties between the two countries,” he said.

Asseri said Saudi Arabia and Pakistan had faced many challenges together in recent decades.

In 2001, during Asseri’s first year as Saudi ambassador in Pakistan, the 9/11 attacks on New York led to greater cooperation between Islamabad and Riyadh in dealing with terrorism.

The Kingdom had been closely involved with Pakistan since its independence, he said. “King Abdul Aziz sent King Saud and Prince Faisal to Pakistan at that time. So if we go back through history, we can see that this relationship is truly unique.” 

Asseri also highlighted the ties between the two countries on humanitarian issues, security and military issues, saying: “Pakistan has suffered serious security and humanitarian consequences of the decades-long war in Afghanistan, besides housing millions of Afghan refugees.

“Together Saudi Arabia and Pakistan have worked for peace in Afghanistan and will do whatever it takes to achieve this long-desired goal.”

Asseri said Pakistanis were quick to show their appreciation for Saudi Arabia’s assistance in the past regardless of the change in Pakistani leadership over the years. 

“The relationship is unique because it is between people. Such a relationship (will) keep growing with every generation.

“When Pakistan was in a difficult position in 2005 after a devastating earthquake, Saudi Arabia went out of its way to provide the support it needed. Prince Ahmed bin Abdul Aziz and eight ministers visited Balochistan. Field hospitals were created with Saudi doctors treating people and performing surgery there.” 

Pakistan also has a deep loyalty to Saudi Arabia, Asseri said. “Pakistan has military expertise, and through cooperation between the two countries, it helped the Saudi military during its development.” 

“The Kingdom’s recent appointment of a Saudi commercial attache in Pakistan will also bolster the economic links between the two countries,” he said. 

“There are good minds in Pakistan and good products that could be manufactured in Saudi Arabia.”

Asseri said he is also optimistic that Saudi plans to build a major oil refinery in Gwadar will help create an “economic hub.” 

The former envoy said the Saudi crown prince’s visit to Pakistan will add to the relationship between the countries. 

Pakistan’s relatively young population is also hoping for a stronger relationship with the Kingdom. 

“Young Pakistanis who are advanced in the IT and industrial sectors are looking forward to helping and cooperating with Saudi Arabia, and sharing their experiences and knowledge,” he said.