By Syed Zafar Mehdi

#MBSNotWelcome trends in Pakistan ahead of MBS’ visit

February 17, 2019

TEHRAN - Ahead of Saudi crown prince Mohammad Bin Salman’s (MBS) much-publicized maiden visit to Pakistan starting Sunday, the chorus against his visit is growing louder.

Many peaceful demonstrations have been carried out in different cities of Pakistan over the past one week to denounce the ‘red carpet welcome’ being given to MBS by the Pakistan government.

Calling him the ‘murderer of Yemeni children’, protestors have unequivocally denounced the visit and criticized the Imran Khan government for playing host to the ‘butcher of Riyadh’.

Social media has been abuzz with posts and pictures expressing anger and outrage over the crown prince’s visit to Pakistan.

Hashtags like #MBSNotWelcome and #MurdererBinSalman have been trending on Twitter and Facebook.

Hizb ut Tahrir, a religio-political organization, in a statement posted on Twitter said “the butcher of school children in Yemen and usurper of the Ummah’s oil wealth is certainly not welcome in Pakistan.”

It criticized the Pakistan government for “raising fuel prices” while “freely burning fuel for Pakistan Air Force JF-17 jets to provide ammunition for MBS’s jets.”

A Twitter user Muhammad Waqas taking a dig at Islamabad said the government that keeps complaining of poverty is providing “lavish welcome for the butcher of Yemen”.

“The murderer and the US-Israeli puppet is getting warm welcome in Pakistan, while we call Pakistan the ‘Port of Islam’,” tweeted Mudasir Hussain Toori, attacking the PTI government led by Imran Khan.

“Such a shameless murderer cannot be accepted by brave nations but only by slave nations who seek help from these freaks,” he added.

“People of Pakistan, China, Indonesia, Malaysia and India: We all must protest this monster's trip to our countries,” tweeted freelance writer and illustrator Huda Z.

“Doesn't matter if we’re too less to stop him from coming. We must protest so that at least the pages of history remember that not all of us were silent,” she said using hashtag #MBSNotWelcome.

“In Saudi Arabia (Kingdom of Extremism), religious clerics incite hatred against Shia Muslims. No wonder why little Zakaria was killed brutally in the streets of Madina,” tweeted Zeeshan Haider, referring to the savage murder of 6-year-old Zakaria Al-Jaber, which shook the collective conscience of humanity.

The gruesome incident unraveled the scale and magnitude of sectarian indoctrination in the Kingdom.

“MBS is part of the Saudi ruling family which has usurped the oil wealth of the Ummah, even though Islam has mandated it as public property for the benefit of the Ummah,” wrote Owais Khattak.

Meanwhile, the interior ministry of Pakistan issued a circular singling out some Shiite organisations in Pakistan for ‘protesting’ against the visit of Saudi crown prince to Pakistan, which could be a cause of embarrassment for hosts.

The circular was shared widely over social media and drew sharp reaction from netizens.

“Unfortunate to single out one sect for being responsible for online protest against visit of Muhammad bin Salman. Such sectarian profiling would only serve to further sectarian divisions in the country,” tweeted Baqir Sajjad, a journalist with Dawn newspaper.

MBS, accompanied by his close aides, is expected to arrive in Pakistan on Sunday. Preparations are afoot to welcome the crown prince. According to reports in Pakistani media, the government has booked 300 super luxury cars and 700 rooms in leading hotels for the royal visit.

However, the prince will be flying to Pakistan with his own entourage of cars and other belongings, according to reports. At least 80 containers are being dispatched to Islamabad for his stay.

According to Pakistani officials, he will be the first state guest to stay at the official residence of the Prime Minister of Pakistan, which will be secured by 130 Saudi royal guards.

A 235-member delegation of the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition (IMCTC) led by Pakistan’s former army chief General Raheel Sharif has been tasked with security arrangements.

During the period of his stay in Pakistan, airspace will be shut down, cellphone services partially suspended and main routes closed to heavy traffic in Islamabad and Rawalpindi.

Meanwhile, Islamabad is set to sign billions of dollars of investment deals with Saudi Arabia, including a multibillion dollar oil refinery in Gwadar, according to reports.
The deals have raised many eyebrows in Pakistan’s intelligentsia circles.

Writing in Aljazeera, journalist Taha Siddiqui warned that the Saudis were using aid packages and investment promises “to buy the economically embattled Pakistani government's loyalty and convince it to turn a blind eye to their destructive actions within Pakistan's borders.”

“While any economic investment is most welcome, Khan must tell Prince Mohammed that it cannot come at the price of its internal stability. It is time that Islamabad reconsiders its decades-old transactional relationship with Riyadh,” he wrote, referring to Saudi-funded seminaries that have become breeding ground for extremism and terrorism.

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