While Endeavouring to Sustain US Pressure
Dr. Raja Muhammad Khan
The President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari has finally decided to call a roundtable conference on important national issues, facing Pakistan in the field of economy, security and political instability as well as the foreign policy challenges. While the consultation process for the conduct of this meeting is on its way, the timing of the proposed meetings is considered very crucial, with reference to the incident of killing of two Pakistanis by a US national, Mr. Raymond David on January 27, 2011, in Lahore. After committing the murders, the U.S national has taken a plea that he has done this all in self-defence, as the two motorcyclists, wanted to rob or kill him. Nevertheless, the fact of the matter is that, none of those killed by him, fired, or attempted to fire on him. Whereas, as per the eye witnesses, “Within seconds he (Mr Rayomand) trained his gun at two motorcyclists standing at the Qurtaba Chowk traffic signal and opened fire.”
As per the investigation of the Lahore police, made public on February 11, 2011, Mr. Raymond Davis has been found as an accused of committing a cold-blooded murder of two Pakistani youth on January 27, 2011. According to the Lahore police chief, Mr. Aslam Tareen, it was indeed, an intentional killing by the accused, Raymond Davis. The Police Chief was categorical in saying that, “He has committed a murder as he shot at the fleeing boys.” Furthermore, the pistols of the boys killed by Davis had no bullets in the chamber, nor there were any fingerprints found on the triggers, as indicated by the forensic report. The police chief made it clear that, it was a case of clear murder, as, “We have proof in the form of eyewitness accounts and forensic reports that it was not a case of self-defence.”
Throughout the investigation, the role of the US Government has been rather obstinate. Initially, the US Government assured Pakistan of its wholehearted cooperation, as stated by the State department spokesperson Philip Crowley, “We want to make sure that a tragedy like this does not affect the strategic partnership that we're building with Pakistan.” However, after a few days, US changed its stance and declared Mr. Raymond as a diplomat, having immunity under the Vienna Convention of 1961, whose compliance is mandatory for Pakistan. Over the last few days, the United States Government is using its all-possible means to pressurize the Government of Pakistan to grant the diplomatic immunity to Mr. Raymond. So much so, that, there have been indirect threats that, US may suspend its diplomatic relationship with Pakistan, if Mr. Raymond is not released.
Moreover, some of the scheduled visits of the US and Pakistani officials to each other’s countries have been postponed. The most recent cancellation is of the visit of the US Deputy Secretary for Treasury Neal Wolin. Although, it has been said that this visit is being postponed due to some “Unavoidable circumstances.” However, the fact of the matter is that, it has a linkage with the Davis’ immunity. Three US congressional representatives recently visited Pakistan, also tried to prevail on the Pakistani leadership for the release of their national, failure of which they threatened Pakistan with the cut in the economic aid, being given by the US.
On its part, Pakistani authorities have decided to deal with the case, as per the law of the land, and not “to succumb to any pressure.” After all courts take, their own course, and the killer of the these Pakistani citizens cannot be let free without the legal penalties. US, otherwise claiming to be the champion of the human rights, should have respect for the laws of other countries, and let Davis getting through this legal procedure. As a retaliation, the super power is seriously considering to put on hold, most of the ongoing and planned bi-lateral contacts and projects between Pakistan and United States, until the release of its national, committed murders. Even, the forthcoming visit of President Asif Ali Zardari to the United States seems to be in a serious jeopardy.
As per the Pakistan’s Foreign Office Protocol Manual-2010, ‘administrative and technical staff’ of foreign missions do not enjoy the status of the diplomat, hence, cannot be granted the diplomatic immunity. The manual further explains that, the declared diplomats (having qualification) are authorized limited immunity, while they are performing their authorised duties. As per the documentary proofs, neither Raymond Davis was a diplomat nor did he kill two Pakistani citizens incidentally, during the course of his diplomatic duties.
Indeed, even people having diplomatic immunity cannot be allowed to kill anyone on mere assumptions that the passerby might attack him. Contrary to the US claims, some of the reliable resources even found a very intimate linkage of Raymond Davis with the militants in Pakistan. So much so, Raymond Davis along with three other US nationals, had a meeting with a militants of a banned terrorists organization in the Cuckoo’s Cafe, situated adjacent to Red Light in Lahore, prior to this incident. Reports are that, they were to meet another group of the militants on the same day, but met the incident.
Although, Raymond Davis is not cooperating with the investigators and mostly prefer to remain quite. However, during the initial investigations, five mobile phones, SIMs of various mobile companies registered on the names of different people were recovered from this US citizen. Apart from this, a GPS, a wireless set, and the lethal weapon and ammunition, were also recovered from his possession, basing on which the security experts believe that, “Davis was Islamabad-based US national who was working in Pakistan as undercover US spy.” He himself committed in the initial investigation that, he visited Pakistan for more than ten times on various pretexts.
Irrespective of the diplomatic or non-diplomatic status, the crime of Mr. Raymond Davis is very much punishable under the Pakistani law. As per the legal interpretation of the entire incident, all acts of Raymond are punishable. Under the provision of the Arms Ordinance-1965, possession of the illegal weapon is punishable. Otherwise, should the diplomats carry weapons, or make efforts to evade the use of force. Likewise, “taking law into his own hand to punish others, an act punishable under section 7 of anti terrorism act 1997. Furthermore, intentional murder of two innocent persons is punishable under section 302 of Pakistan penal code.
Hoping no quick justice, because of the undesired US pressure, for the release of the accused, the frustrated wife of Irfan, killed by Raymond, has committed a suicide. Indirectly, Raymond is responsible for this murder too, which is covered under Section 22 of the PPC, as Qatal Bis Sabab. Thus, the accused, Raymond Davis is guilty of four murders; “two by the extra-judicial and terrorist activity carried out by direct fire in a public place and other two dying as an indirect consequence of the same event.”
Since, the people of Pakistan have gone too sensitive on the issue; therefore, US should not force Pakistan for the release of this accused, and let the case be decided on merit, as per Pakistani law.