By Arab News
Gunmen on a motorbike shot and killed a Saudi diplomat as he was driving in Pakistan’s largest city on Monday, just days after two hand grenades were tossed at the Arab state’s consulate building, police in Karachi and the Saudi ambassador said.
“We condemn this attack. No one who carries out this kind of attack can be a Muslim,” Saudi Ambassador Abdul Aziz Al-Ghadeer said. He did not give details on the rank of the diplomat who was killed.
The shooting occurred days after unidentified attackers threw two hand grenades at the Saudi consulate in the city, Pakistan’s commercial hub. No one was hurt in that attack.
Monday’s attack took place not far from the consulate building. The diplomat — who was driving a silver Toyota Corona and was alone — appeared to be on his way to work, said police officer Zameer Husain Abbasi. He said a 9 mm pistol was used in the assault.
The victim was a member of the security staff at the consulate, said Iqbal Mehmood, Karachi’s deputy inspector of police. He said the shooting was carried out by two men on a motorbike and appeared to be linked to last week’s grenade attack on the mission, which caused some damage but no injuries.
In a statement, Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani condemned the attack and “expressed deep grief and sorrow over the tragic death of the Saudi diplomat.”
It’s too early to determine who was behind the attack, the ambassador said, but he suggested “terrorists,” a reference to militant groups such as Al-Qaeda, carried it out.
Pakistan’s Al-Qaeda-linked Taleban said it could not confirm its fighters were responsible but expressed “full support” for the attack.
Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have long been close allies.
Al Qaeda has vowed revenge for the killing of its leader, Saudi-born Osama Bin Laden, by US special forces in Pakistan on May 2.
“We trust the Pakistani authorities and hope they will identify the terrorists and bring them to justice,” Al-Ghadeer said.
“The authorities in Karachi are working very hard and we trust them. We are working together. We trust Pakistan will do its best to ensure the terrorists are caught and identified.”
Pakistan’s commitment to fighting militancy was questioned after it was discovered that Bin Laden was living in a garrison town close to the capital — by some accounts for five years — before his death.
“There is no immediate impact of the shooting on the market and there is unlikely to be one unless the victim turns out to be someone important,” a Singapore-based Western crude trader said about the attack in Karachi.
Saudi Arabia is the world biggest oil exporter and any signs that it’s security is threatened could move global oil prices.