Hours after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton denied payment of ‘blood money' to secure the release of its national Raymond Davis, affidavits filed by the relatives of his victims showed that $2.3 million had been paid to the two families.
This was again confirmed by Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah on Thursday amid sporadic protests across the country over the release of Davis — who had been in Pakistani custody since January 27 for gunning down two ‘armed' men in ‘self-defence'. Fighting back charges of buckling under U.S. pressure, the Minister said each one of the immediate relatives who had been paid ‘blood money' had individually told the judge that they had pardoned Davis on their free will.
Caught unawares by the entire turn of events , the Pakistani media was scathing in its criticism of the decision to free Davis on payment of ‘blood money' that is allowed under the Sharia law.
The decision was termed as a sell-out and all institutions of the State — including the ISI — came in for attack in the street protests.
Though the payment of ‘blood money' has been established, there was no clarity a day later on who coughed up the money.
Likewise the whereabouts of the victims' families remain unknown.
It is widely believed that the Pakistani establishment facilitated his release after the ISI succeeded in working out new terms of engagement with the CIA for operating in the country. The ISI has been peeved with their American counterpart for trying to set in place a parallel spy network within the country.
Meanwhile, the U. S. Embassy has decided to keep its mission in Islamabad and Consulates General in Lahore, Karachi and Peshawar closed on Friday in view of the protests called by various ‘religious' right wing organisations. A Warden Notice issued by the embassy has asked all American nationals in Pakistan to keep a low profile and avoid all such places where foreigners are known to congregate.
Meanwhile, in one of the deadliest U.S.-controlled drone attacks in Pakistan in recent memory, the unmanned Predators reportedly killed over a score people in the Datta Khel area of North Waziristan on Thursday taking the tally of drone attack casualties this year to 128.
Thursday's attacks — a highly contentious issue between the U.S. and Pakistan — apparently targeted a compound owned by North Waziristan Taliban leader Hafiz Gul Bahadar when tribal elders loyal to him were trying to mediate between two warring militant groups inside.
According to Long War Journal — which has been tracking the covert U.S. air campaign in Pakistan — Datta Khel is one of the most targeted areas in this campaign headed by the CIA with as many as 45 of the 234 drone attacks since 2004 targeting this area of North Waziristan.
Datta Khel is said to be administered by Bahadar and is a known hub of the Taliban, the Haqqani Network and Al-Qaeda with a number of Central Asian terror groups having hideouts in this area along Pakistan's border with Afghanistan.