ISLAMABAD: The government of Pakistan is likely to favor U.S. consulate employee Raymond Davis, who was arrested for killing two Pakistanis, by telling the court about his right of diplomatic immunity. In the last couple of days, the offices of Pakistan’s foreign ministry, law ministry, presidency, and prime minister secretariat have been more active than any regular day to search any non-controversial way to favor Davis after the statement from U.S. President Barack Obama and the arrival of U.S. Senator John Kerry in Pakistan.
Unusual movements and discussions were seen at high level in under-pressure Islamabad after Obama on Tuesday stressed Pakistan to release Davis, whose case has created tension between the two allies in the war against terrorism.
“If our diplomats are in another country, then they are not subject to that country’s local prosecution.” Obama said at a press conference at the White House.
Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said that Pakistan would not accept any pressure for the release of the American national as his case is in the court. Davis, who shot dead two Pakistanis on Jan. 27 in Lahore terming his act defensive, was sent to jail by a Pakistani court on Feb. 11 for a 14-day judicial remand.
The Lahore High Court on Thursday, which also monitors the case, once again barred the government to hand over the criminal to America. The U.S. has suspended all high-level talks with Pakistan. Pakistani media reported that some congressmen had also threatened to suspend aid packages to Pakistan.
U.S. Senator Kerry during his visit to Pakistan met President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Gilani, Army Chief Ashfaq Pervez Kayani and former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, whose Muslim League- Nawaz party rules Punjab province, where Davis was arrested.
“I came here not to dictate but to listen carefully, and I hope the matter will be solved in a few days,” Kerry told reporters before leaving Pakistan while stressing the right of immunity under Clause 37 of the 1961 Vienna Convention for a consulate employee. Kerry also met Pakistan’s former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and tried to convince him to take back his earlier statement that Davis was not eligible for blanket immunity. But right after their meeting, Qureshi in a press conference showed his firmness over his earlier stance.
According to sources, a meeting between victims’ families and Kerry was also tried to be arranged but the former refused as they are not interested in compensation but justice.
Pakistan’s foreign secretary Salman Bashir has already said publicly that the Americans should not claim diplomatic immunity as their consulate employee is involved in a criminal activity.
Sources told media that the Foreign Office has sent a summary over the status of the Davis to the Law Ministry for formulating a legal position that would be taken before the Lahore High Court on the next hearing in the session court on Feb. 25. “No special favoring material was sent to the Law Ministry but the facts including international laws and communication between the foreign office and U.S. embassy in Islamabad, which may help the court to reach a decision,” an official said.
Experts in Pakistan believed that Pakistan’s current stance over the issue is creating public pressure on Obama which could lead to a clashing situation between the two countries. American officials are angry with the Pakistani government as they believe that the case should be dealt at administration level not in the court.
While on Tuesday Lahore police submitted a charge-sheet against double murder accused Raymond Davis in the court which states that Davis’ plea of killing in self-defense was false but it was an intentional murder. The charge-sheet further reads that guns recovered from the deceased was not loaded and they also did not point gun at the accused.
Police also recovered a GPS tracker, mobile phones, wireless sets, a survival kit, pistols, bullets and photographs of Pakistani army installations from Davis’ car while the culprit did not cooperate with the police during investigation, said the charge-sheet, which had statements of 47 eyewitnesses.
Police have requested the court to take action against the double murder accused under Section 302 of the Pakistan Penal Code, which advises sentence of hang to death to the killer.
Input from Agencies