Saturday, February 12, 2011

"Raymond Davis" Case: Pakistan & Judiciary Holding Firm

Just as the US needs all the help in get from Islamabad if it wants to start bringing home its troops from Afghanistan later this year, a crucial meeting set for end of February was canceled due to the disgreements over the Raymond Davis case - further undermining an alliance that has not been working well for quite awhile.

To America's disgrace, the reporters and officials alike have written off the case of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui and now this current tragedy of Raymond Davis' murders as insignificant.

This is desperately sad news for the leadership and people of both countries. And for America, the case has already revealed too many uncomfortable facts. Yet many remain - and more for the US who have yet to investigate. Who exactly is Raymond Davis, described by the US as a member of "technical and administrative staff"? What sort of "diplomat" carries a weapon? What was he doing driving alone through Lahore? How does Hyperion come into play? Was he meeting an informer? Such is the panic, that last week the State Department spokesman denied his name was even "Raymond Davis". Yet a spokeswoman for the embassy in Islamabad said Crowley had not denied the name was "Raymond Davis" which name has been used since.

Releasing Davis on the grounds of diplomatic immunity (especially when top well-informed lawyers have good reason to cancel such as not at all in keeping with national agreements) risks unleashing the angriest sentiments yet from the Pakistan people.

Many are asking wouldn't US demands further undermine one of the world's most important alliances? This would take us back to Pakistan's birth as a democracy when the US was the only nation to be present with confirmation and recognition. Yet the history of US in the region keeps growing more and more shady.

Various Wires/News Sources indicate the following as of Saturday February 12, 2011 US time or Sunday, February 13, 2011, 00:09 Pakistan time:

***Pakistan extends jailing of U.S. official according to article by Waqar Gillani and Jane Perlez in the New York Times who report that "The official, Raymond Davis, 36, whose arrest has cast a deep chill over U.S.-Pakistan relations, said he acted in self-defense when he shot the men in an attempted daylight robbery Jan. 27."

***A 30-minute, closed- door court hearing too place, after which Lahore Police Chief Aslam Tareen said Davis had committed "coldblooded" murder. Davis was then transferred to a city jail to await formal charges.

***Hassam Qadir, attorney for Davis (US?), requested of Judge Aneeq Anwar Chaudry and Municipal Court to adhere to the principles of diplomatic immunity and release Davis. (Perhaps because the US State Department has been adamant that Davis is protected by diplomatic immunity under the Vienna Convention. The US has demanded immediate release.

***In a statement Friday night, the senior U.S. official posted to Lahore, consulate head Carmela Conroy, described the shooting as "a tragedy." Conroy also criticized the Pakistani authorities for ignoring what she called eyewitness accounts and physical evidence, including the alleged police statement that one of the assailants carried a loaded gun.

***The statement Friday night said Davis had been assigned as an "administrative and technical" member of the staff (a contractor?)at the American Embassy in Islamabad. His wife had rented a home in Highlands Ranch. Evidently, Davis visited over the holidays.

***There have also been some conversations/suspicions among Pakistanis wondering if Raymond Davis was in Pakistan to spy on facilities in the country.

*** Islamabad: Due to the 16-day stand-off between the US and Pakistan over an American official arrested for gunning down two men in Lahore a crucial trilateral meeting has been canceled. This meeting was to be held late February in US to discuss the emerging situation in Afghanistan.

***The meeting of the Foreign Ministers of US, Pakistan and Afghanistan is "most likely being rescheduled" allegedly according to Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir said today to the Diplomatic Correspondents of Pakistan. During this quickly assembled meeting, Bashir also said that there were "no clear dates" for President Barack Obama's visit to Pakistan though "this has been talked of for a long time."

***Some Reports have said recently that the US has suspended ALL HIGH-LEVEL contacts to pressure Pakistan to release American official Raymond Davis, who was arrested in Lahore on January 27 after he shot and killed two men who he claimed were trying to rob him.

***Confusion has surrounded the diplomatic status of Davis, a former military personnel, and the identity of the two men he killed - although perhaps less confusion on the part of Pakistan authorities than on the part of the US officials who are not accepting carefully gathered information from the Pakistanis.

***Bashir added that the pressure mounted by the US for Davis's release was "counter-productive" and said that this could adversely impact bilateral ties.
He said adamantly that Davis' case was in (Pakistan) court and would be decided according to Pakistani laws.

*** Poignantly, Bashir added: "If I were personally to do something which is morally wrong or even criminal, (something) that is not right by civilized standards, then I (would) not seek immunity or seek protection under some figment like the concept of immunity." (He was likely referring to past 15-16 days of confusion which may have been stirred largely by the US military officials.)

***Diplomatic Immunity has a long history and is not limited to the Vienna Convention and Pakistani laws. The US has said dogmatically that Davis enjoys diplomatic immunity. Thus, Bashir indicated that such a ruling could and should be an "executive determination"that could and should be made by Pakistan's Foreign Office. Bashir said that the Lahore High Court, which is hearing a case related to Davis' immunity, had stated that "this question has not arisen and it is the court's prerogative to take (this up) if the issue is raised."

*** Tactfully, Bashir expressed the hope that the Lahore incident will not be "blown out of proportion and affect our bilateral relationship. It is an important relationship with the US, Pakistan values that relationship," he said, adding,
"We hope that nothing will be said or done that will be detrimental to this relationship that we want to have with the US. In Islamabad we are very clear; we hope they are equally clear in Washington.

***Quite striking was one of Bashir's ending comments: "It will be extremely counter-productive if one incident, one person destroys a relationship of 60 years," he added. (Pakistani leaders have been quite unified in rebuffing US demands for Davis to be freed despite warning by American lawmakers that the issue could lead to cuts in civil and military aid.)

***Davis is currently in Pakistani judicial custody and police have rejected his claim of acting in self-defense. In fact, on a 'charge-sheet', Pakistani police accused Davis of "intentional and cold-blooded murder".

To see contrast again of a more US position GO to this article "Pakistani police call American a 'cold-blooded' killer" posted Saturday, February 12, 2011. LAHORE, Pakistan — Pakistani police on Friday accused an ... 27 in the eastern city of Lahore while trying to rob Davis. here Also see Read more: Pakistan extends jailing of U.S. official - The Denver Post lead The Denver Post's Terms of Use of its content:

And top article at one heart for peace

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