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Guardian article claims India was inspired by Jamal Khashoggi murder to kill terrorists in Pakistan, here is how this proves it is a work of fiction

While intelligence officials may advocate running kill missions in foreign countries, they are unlikely to suggest a Jamal Khashoggi like operation. It was like a gangster killing his enemy in own den, and not a secret assassination by an intelligence agency.

The Guardian on 5th April published an article claiming that the Indian government ordered the assassination of several terrorists in Pakistan. The report based on anonymous Pakistani ‘sources’ was meant to attack the Modi government accusing it of indulging in ‘extra-territorial killings,’ however, the report ended up giving ammunition to the Modi govt and BJP by claiming that the govt is taking actions against terrorists even in foreign countries.

The article authored by anti-India propagandist Hannah Ellis-Petersen was riddled with errors, raising questions on the quality of research that went behind it. While Modi government would not dislike the ‘allegation’ that it killed terrorists in Pakistan, the fact is that there is no evidence backing the claims made by Guardian, and the entire article is based on anonymous “Indian and Pakistani intelligence operatives” who allegedly spoke to the Guardian.

The article claims that R&AW (incorrectly spelled Raw by Guardian) was inspired to kill enemies abroad after the assassination of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey. The report quotes an anonymous Indian official, “It was a few months after the killing of Jamal Khashoggi that there was a debate among the top brass of intelligence in the prime minister’s office about how something can be learned from the case. One senior officer said in a meeting that if Saudis can do this, why not us?”

The report further cited, “What the Saudis did was very effective. You not only get rid of your enemy but send a chilling message, a warning to the people working against you. Every intelligence agency has been doing this. Our country cannot be strong without exerting power over our enemies.”

However, this entire claim proves that the entire article is work of fiction. Here is why.

The article talks about India killing terrorists in Pakistan, but Jamal Khashoggi was not a terrorist, he was a journalist highly critical of the Saudi government. And the most important point, he was killed inside Saudi consulate in Istanbul, proving without that doubt he was killed by the Saudi govt.

First, while there are claims that India is behind the mysterious murder of terrorists in Pakistan, there is no evidence of the Indian govt taking such extreme against journalists critical of the govt. In fact, there are dozens of journalists, many with known links with India’s enemies like George Soros, and such journalists continue to keep attacking the Modi government without any fear daily. Therefore, the claim that India will take inspiration from the murder of a journalist is completely unbelievable.

More importantly, Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi consulate (wrongly called Saudi Embassy by the Guardian report) on 2 October 2018, which means it was clear that Saudi government officials were behind the murder. After killing the journalist, the Saudi officials cut the body into pieces, wrapped them in plastic and put in suitcases, which were taken out the consulate.

At first the Saudi govt had denied that he was killed in the consulate, but it was busted after Turkey disclosed audio recordings of Jamal and the Saudi hit squad inside the consul office, which proved the murder. Turkey had initially claimed that the recordings were obtained from Khashoggi’s Apple Watch, saying that he turned on recording on his watch while entering the consulate and then uploaded the clips to his phone and iCloud.

However, experts had ruled out this possibility, and later it was proved that the Saudi consulate was bugged by Turkey, because audio recordings of conversations among Saudi operatives before Jamal entered the building were also revealed. It is open secret that host countries often bug embassies and consulates, because these offices also work as bases for intelligence operations of the respective countries. Therefore, murder of Jamal Khashoggi was not a secret mission, even though Saudi may have hoped to keep it secret. He was almost openly murdered by a Saudi hit squad, on the orders of Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, inside a campus under surveillance by the host country.

Further, the claim is an officer said that killing of Jamal Khashoggi was “very effective” is completely false. US had come close to imposing sanctions against Saudi Arabia for the murder, and the murder was widely condemned across the world. And no, every intelligence agency is not killing journalists in diplomatic locations in foreign countries, it was a single incidence which will probably be never be repeated in near future.

While intelligence officials may advocate running kill missions in foreign countries, they are unlikely to suggest a Jamal Khashoggi like operation. It was like a gangster killing his enemy in own den, and not a secret assassination by an intelligence agency.

Therefore, the claim that India’s R&AW officials were inspired by this murder to kill terrorists in Pakistan is completely meaningless. It is unlikely that any Jihadi terrorist will enter India’s diplomatic missions in Pakistan, giving Indian operatives a chance to kill them. Moreover, Indian High Commission in Islamabad and other diplomatic locations in Pakistan are certainly under high surveillance of Pakistan’s ISI, which means any ‘secret killing’ in those places are not possible.

Indian govt has denied ordering any killings anywhere in the world. But even if agencies wanted to carry out such missions, Jamal Khashoggi murder certainly can’t be an example to follow. Countries across the world do execute such murders, which took place most commonly during the cold war, when USA and Russia targeted its enemies in foreign countries. Similarly, Israel is also known to have executed such operations.

Therefore, if India wanted to conduct such operations, the officials will study such operations by Israel, Russia, USA and other countries, not the Jamal Khashoggi murder. This proves that the entire article by Guardian is work of fiction.

Moreover, the article claims that two Indian intelligence officers talked to it and revealed all India’s dirty secrets. The article has been authored by anti-India propagandist Hannah Ellis-Petersen, Aakash Hassan and Pakistani ‘journalist’ Shah Meer Baloch, and it is highly unlikely that any real Indian intelligence officer will talk to them and reveal India’s alleged kill missions in Pakistan.

Since the Narendra Modi government came to power in 2014, the government’s record in keeping secrets is impressive. While earlier the media will often report upcoming govt decisions, such ‘leaks’ have completely stopped under the NDA govt. Media didn’t get any hint before the govt announced demonetisation, abrogation of Article 370, Covid-19 lockdown, Balakot air strikes and many other such decisions.

Any discussion on ordering kill in a foreign country will involve even more secrecy, and will be known to a very few select people. Therefore, the claim that the Guardian journalists were able to access what Indian Intelligence officials discussed about eliminating terrorists in Pakistan is highly unlikely, and almost impossible.

Therefore, while India could have played a role in the murder of some terrorists in Pakistan, even though the govt has denied it, the fact is that the Guardian article offers no concrete evidence to back its claims. The entire report is more likely a work of fiction, presenting claims, imaginations and unproven assumptions as fact.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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Raju Das
Raju Das
Corporate Dropout, Freelance Translator

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