By Arab News
By MD Rasooldeen
The Saudi diplomat Khalaf Al-Ali, 45, who was shot dead near his house in the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka three days ago, was buried in Riyadh after Asr prayers yesterday.
Funeral prayers were performed at the Al-Rajhi Mosque in Exit 14 located on the King Fahd Ring Road and the burial took place at the nearby graveyard in Al-Naseem in the presence of a distinguished gathering.
The body arrived here on a special Saudia flight from Dhaka on Thursday night. It was received at the King Khaled International Airport by a large number of senior government officials including Prince Sultan bin Mohammed bin Saud Al-Kabeer, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah; Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Nizar bin Obaid Madani; Undersecretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Multilateral Relations Prince Turki bin Mohammed bin Saud Al-Kabeer; Undersecretary to the Ministry of Information and Technology Prince Mohammed bin Saud bin Khalid; Undersecretary to Consular Affairs Ambassador Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Salloum and Deputy Minister for Protocol Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Alauddin Al-Askary.
Besides the government dignitaries, Bangladesh Ambassador to the Kingdom Mohamed Shahidul Islam, the brother and son of the deceased Khalid Al-Ali were also present.
Saudi Ambassador to Bangladesh Abdullah Al-Busairi and other officials from his mission accompanied the body from Dhaka.
Prior to the departure of the flight from the Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka, Janaza prayers were conducted.
The congregation comprised Ambassador Al-Busairi, Dhaka-based diplomats from different countries, several ministers of the Bangladesh government, officials of the Foreign Ministry and leaders from Awami League, BNP and other political parties and senior police officers.
Conveying the deepest condolences of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah to the bereaved family, Deputy Foreign Minister Prince Abdul Aziz called for a prompt investigation into the murder to bring the perpetrators to justice.
The prince also thanked the president and the government of Bangladesh for their sentiments and interest shown in pursuing the investigations to find those responsible for the killing.
He said a special team will be sent to Dhaka to assist the investigators dealing with the case.
According to a senior official from the Bangladesh Foreign Ministry, the investigators currently probing the murder have still not found any definite clues to the crime. “We do not want to rush to conclusions but we will track down the killers as soon as possible,” he reiterated, adding that his government has stepped up all security measures to provide added protection to the Saudi mission in Dhaka.
The forensic report said a single bullet pierced through the left part of Al Ali’s chest and hit his kidney that led to heavy bleeding and eventually his death at a Dhaka hospital.
Offering his country’s condolences to King Abdullah and to the bereaved family, on behalf of his government, Ambassador Islam said his government had intensified its investigation procedures that would zoom in on the killers. He pointed out that the tragedy will not in any form affect the longstanding bilateral relations between the Kingdom and Bangladesh.
The brother of the deceased, Khalid, said that he was content that his deceased brother had reached martyrdom for the sake of his motherland.
Al-Ali was preparing to leave Dhaka for Jordan a few weeks from now, said Khalid. He said his brother called him Monday to inquire about his siblings and his only son, 24-year-old Nasser.
“We are a family of nine members and Khalaf was like our father after we lost both our parents,” Khalid added. Khalaf had no enemy or problems with anyone, he said. He revealed this incident had left a deep sense of sorrow and loss among all members of the family.
Khalid denied his brother had been subject to any threats or harassment.
Nasser said his father had “sacrificed everything for his country.”
A statement issued in Dhaka on Thursday by the Saudi Embassy in Bangladesh demanded Bangladesh take all necessary steps to arrest the killers of its embassy official and bring them to justice.
“While announcing the heart-rending news on behalf of the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the embassy in Bangladesh would like to demand from the government of Bangladesh to take all necessary measures to arrest the criminals of this heinous crime and produce them in court for judgment,” the statement signed by Ambassador Al-Busairi said.
“The government of Saudi Arabia has confidence in the capability of the government of Bangladesh to identify the criminals and announce their identification and personal motive behind the assassination,” it said.
“The embassy of Saudi Arabia knows no language to express its grief and sorrow to announce the touching death news of the embassy official who was victim of a heinous killing by some unidentified criminals on Monday night.”
Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dipu Moni is expected to visit the Kingdom. Moni is expected to visit Riyadh soon after her meeting at the International Tribunal for Law of the Sea (ITLOS) in Hamburg, Germany.
The country’s mission in Riyadh is making arrangements for her visit to be held during this week. The visit also aims to ensure the incident would not have any bearing on Saudi-Bangladesh relationship.
Speaking to reporters in Dhaka on Thursday, Moni said: “I will go to Riyadh while returning from the German city of Hamburg.”