State Department confused to establish identity of Raymond Davis

ISLAMABAD : The killing of two Lahore boys by a US national has gelled the nation together in demanding legal course of action and in standing up to the US pressure to release its citizen.

The US which has so far been unable to build up a case for its “diplomat” has demanded immunity under the Vienna Convention and called for his immediate release.

The government on Wednesday placed his name on the Exit Control List, on the instructions of the court, while another case has been filed against him for carrying illegal weapon.

The United States has been trying to establish that Raymond Davis has been serving as a “technical and administrative staff” with the US embassy Islamabad. However it failed to justify as what was he doing in Lahore and why was he carrying a gun.

The White House Spokesman P J Crowley when questioned about the nature of Raymond’s job, his real name and why was he carrying a gun, briefly answered “I’m not at liberty to talk about his identity yet.” So it is very strange that his identity could not be even established by the State Department.

Asked why he was not issued a diplomatic visa, the spokesman said “Look, this is a matter that we are still discussing with the Government of Pakistan.”

The United States Embassy in Pakistan on Jan 29 demanded immediate release of its “unlawfully detained” diplomat, who has a diplomatic passport and Pakistani visa valid until June 2012.

Legal experts believe that wrong interpretations of the Vienna Convention are being floated to serve vested interests; as two different conventions, of 1961 and 1963, are being mixed-up to protect Raymond Davis.

International law expert Ahmar Bilal Sufi said that both conventions are entirely different, one dealing with immunity to diplomatic staff while the other deals with consular staff.
“The Vienna Convention on Consulate relations 1963, in its article 41 clearly states that in case of grave crimes like murder there is no immunity,” he said.

Meanwhile the political leadership, across the divide, has been unanimous in their demand for a court trial of the accused.

President Asif Ali Zardari clearly told the delegation of US Congressmen, that “It would be prudent to wait for the legal course to be completed.”

While Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani denied that the federal government was pressurizing release of the detained American. He said, “Neither we are under pressure nor we will pressurize any body to release him.”

He said “no one is above the law … we will respect the law of the land.”

Similar views were stated by the Interior Minister Rehman Malik who said he would be dealt with in accordance with law of the land.

“Law will take its course and no favor will be done with the accused,” he told the National Assembly.

A senior Advocate of the Supreme Court said there was no diplomatic immunity, as he was not a diplomat, covered under the Vienna Convention, and committed a crime not done during his official duties.

According to a report by the American Broadcasting Corporation, Raymond Davis works for Hyperion Protective Consultants, a Florida based company, specialising in security and his diplomatic status seems dubious.

The US embassy maintained that “the diplomat acted in self-defense when confronted by two armed men on motorcycles … had every reason to believe that the armed men meant him bodily harm.”

The embassy also claimed that the two men, who had criminal backgrounds, had robbed money and valuables at gunpoint from a Pakistani citizen in the same area.

For the families of those killed the US embassy said “We regret that this incident resulted in loss of life.”

According to analyst Zahid Hussain, the matter was now in public domain and “no more between the two countries.”

He said the issue of immunity, and whether Davis shot the boys in self-defence, was yet to be ascertained. (News source APP)

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