Islamabad refuses to let Davis go scot-free

  • Matter of diplomatic immunity will be taken up in court of law
  • US told religious parties can ‘benefit’ from Davis’ release and bring masses on streets

By Raja Riaz

LAHORE: Islamabad has made it clear to Washington that it is unable to give a clean chit to the US national Raymond Allen Davis and let him go. The matter of diplomatic indemnity will also be taken up in the court of law.

The US citizen is involved in killing two Pakistanis in broad daylight at one of the busiest places of the city. Mystery still shrouds about his diplomatic status as Davis was declared a “technical adviser” and a “consular” official. The US embassy officials described him as a “functionary” of the embassy assigned to the US Consulate in Lahore and carrying a US diplomatic passport. The other reports say he was hired at the US Consulate in Lahore as a security contractor from a Florida-based firm Hyperion Protective Consultants.

After killing the two persons in the city, Davis claimed that he did the act in self-defence while on Friday city police chief while addressing a press conference said that their “investigation into the fatal shooting of two citizens by US national Raymond Davis in January has found that the man did not act in self-defence.”

Lahore CCPO Aslam Tareen said that Raymond Davis carried out “an intentional and cold-blooded murder. The investigation was carried out on pure merit which led the police to the conclusion that Davis was guilty of murder.” The police submitted the provisional challan requesting the court to take action against him under the Article 302 of the Pakistan Penal Code.
The US officials have taken up the matter with the Pakistan political and administrative hierarchy and stressed his release. The US officials and diplomatic personalities also contacted the Punjab government and officials and repeatedly demanded his releases. The Punjab government had a simple stance that the matter was to be decided by the court and the matter of diplomatic immunity lies with the Foreign Office and that is a federal subject.

After marathon sessions Islamabad made it clear to the US authorities directly or through American officials that it was not possible for it to release Davis because of several reasons: The Islamic forces have bettered their ranks and have shown their muscles in recent past. They have launched a movement against the government on blasphemy law and the movement was so vigorous that a guard of the Punjab governor killed him. The federal government conveyed to Washington that due to the Islamists movement they have lost their governor Salmaan Taseer and cannot afford their becoming forceful at the movement as the anti-American sentiments are high and religious parties can get benefit of it and bring the masses on streets.

Islamabad feared a Tunisia and Egypt like situation and conveyed to Washington that release of Raymond Davis can create conducive atmosphere for the fundamentalists.

It also conveyed to Washington that the media in Pakistan is free and has created an atmosphere where the public sentiments have diverted to the families of the victims. The suicide of the wife of one of the victims, Faheem, has emotionally charged the atmosphere and public at large is demanding public hanging of Raymond Davis.

It is pertinent to mention that the widow of Muhammad Faheem, one of the two civilians shot dead by Raymond Davis, committed suicide by taking poisonous pills last Sunday, fearing the American would be released without trial. Shumaila, (the widow of Faheem), on deathbed, said that she was upset over the reports that efforts were being made to secure Davis’ release. “I was under shock and decided to kill myself,” she said, adding, “We want blood for blood.”

A large number of local organisations have put up banners on roads, instigating the public emotions with slogans like “Shumaila’s blood challenges the Ghairat (honour) of Pakistani nation.” Islamabad conveyed to Washington that in such situation release of Raymond Allen Davis can create great trouble for them.

On the question of diplomatic immunity, Islamabad conveyed to Washington the concerned person should have told this to the police ab intio but he stressed to be a consultant of the US diplomatic missions and the Punjab Police lodged an FIR against him for murder. The accused did not claimed immunity at the first step and the case was registered now it was not possible to get him out of jail, give him a clean chit and berth on a plane to go scot-free.

A judicial magistrate ordered on Friday that the accused be sent to jail for 14 days.

Islamabad also conveyed to Washington that if they release Davis at this moment it would give a political mileage to their opponent parties who are archrivals and contender of the ruling party in coming elections. They would exploit the fact that a criminal was booked and the federal government released him.

Islamabad asked Washington that raise the question of immunity in the court of law and let it decide his fate. Davis’ lawyer filed an application in the relevant court on Friday seeking indemnity and the judge asked the government prosecutor to file a reply on it.


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