Exclusive to OpEdNews:
OpEdNews Op Eds

Debate Over Raymond Davis Release Touches Off Suicide, Protests in Pakistan

By       Message Abdus Sattar Ghazali     Permalink
      (Page 1 of 2 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

Interesting 3  
View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com Headlined to H3 2/17/11

Author 8838
Become a Fan
  (1 fan)
- Advertisement -

Under intensive US pressure to release of the American national Raymond Davis who admits killing two Pakistanis in self-defense , US client government in Pakistan has called an all-party conference to discuss the issue . Earlier reports suggested that the government has agreed to give diplomatic status to Davis and Foreign Office has written a letter to the Law Ministry that Raymond Davis was designated in Pakistan at US consulate in Lahore as a diplomat and enjoys diplomatic immunity according to Vienna Convention.

However, under apparent popular pressure, the foreign office denied that it has written such a letter. On Thursday the Lahore High Court was told that the Foreign Office needs three weeks to decide the diplomatic status of Raymond Davis.

President Obama said at a Washington press conference that Davis should be treated as a diplomat. In his first public remarks on a case that has strained US relations with Pakistan, President Obama noted that the Vienna Convention for diplomatic immunity granted Davis some right.

US Senator John Kerry flew into Lahore Monday to pressurize the Pakistan government over the Davis case. Addressing a press conference after his arrival, Kerry said that Raymond Davis case has nothing to do with the Pakistani courts as Davis enjoyed diplomatic immunity under Vienna convention.

Senator Kerry said that Raymond Davis would be tried in American courts, assuring that all the facts would be sort out with regard to this case. He expressed deep sorrow on behalf of Americans over the killing of Pakistani citizens. He said the relationship between the two countries would not be allowed to derail over one issue.

As row continues over the diplomatic status of David Raymond, former foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told a press conference Wednesday that "Davis isn't a diplomat according to the Foreign Office record". His refusal to recognize Davis as a diplomat or accord him immunity ultimately cost him his job. According to Lahore's prominent newspaper The Nation, Qureshi's principled stand earned him the disapproval of US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton who wanted his head on a plate -- and got it. Qureshi was dropped in last week's cabinet reshuffle.

The US media reported that Pakistani officials would present documents to the Lahore High Court to support Davis' claim for immunity. However, on Thursday, the deputy attorney general requested three weeks to submit a reply on the status of Raymond Davis. The case was adjourned until March 14.

In another related development, on Wednesday Lahore Police presented a complete 25-page charge sheet of Raymond Davis to the Lahore district and sessions judge, stating that, according to their investigation, the American did not kill the two Pakistanis, Faheem and Faizan, in self-defense.

- Advertisement -

Washington had threatened to cut financial aid to its client government in Islamabad. Three members of the House of Representatives drove home the point on a visit to Pakistan, telling Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani starkly that the US Congress was working on its budget and looking for areas to cut.

Congress in 2009 approved a five-year, $7.5-billion aid package meant to build schools, infrastructure and democratic institutions as Pakistan ended a decade of military rule. In October, the Obama administration proposed another $2 billion in assistance for Pakistan's military, often seen as the key power center in the country.

Raymond Davis shot two men on January 27 in Lahore, the second largest city of Pakistan. A third Pakistani was run over and killed by a US consulate vehicle that had come to assist Davis. US Consulate in Lahore has so far declined to hand over the driver of the car to the police despite repeated requests from the Punjab provincial government.

In a continuing pressure on Pakistan, the US State Department on Saturday postponed a round of high-level talks with Afghanistan and Pakistan, scheduled for 23-24 February.

The Raymond Davis drama took a new twist on February 6   when Shumaila Faheem, the 4-month pregnant widow of one of the two men who was gunned down, committed suicide by taking poison pills. I n her dying statement she said she feared the American who killed her husband Mohammad Faheem would be released without trial. She told reporters before her condition deteriorated that she took the extreme step because she "does not expect any justice from this government," which she suspects to be trying to bail out Raymond Davis.

- Advertisement -

The suicide of Shumaila has set off protests in Pakistan, where anti-US sentiment already runs high. There is intensive street pressure on the government not to hand over Davis to America and he should be tried for murder under Pakistan laws.

Leader of Pakistan's leading religious party, Syed Munawar Hasan, while condemning the government's intentions to allow diplomatic immunity to Raymond Davis, said that such a decision was expected "from the puppets of the US." In a press statement, he appealed to the masses to rise against the US and its agents in Pakistan. He said: "The JI will launch a massive campaign against any such a decision."

Jamaat-e-Islami and other religious parties don't win many votes in elections but are capable of organizing large protests often seize on sensitive issues concerning the United States.

Next Page  1  |  2


- Advertisement -

Interesting 3  
View Ratings | Rate It

Author and journalist. Author of Islamic Pakistan: Illusions & Reality; Islam in the Post-Cold War Era; Islam & Modernism; Islam & Muslims in the Post-9/11 America. Currently working as free lance journalist. Executive Editor of American (more...)

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon

Go To Commenting

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
- Advertisement -

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

American Muslims alarmed at the new profiling policy

American Muslims Seven Years after 9/11

The plight of prisoner No. 650 (Dr. Afia Siddiqui)

Reinforcing prejudice, stereotyping

Arab Americans Continue to Face Discrimination: Report

Redrawing the map of Afghanistan, Iran & Pakistan