Pakistani authorities have rejected the demand of the U.S. to release an American diplomat who shot dead two youths in Lahore, saying the matter would be handled in court according to the country’s laws.

Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit told a TV news channel on Sunday that the matter was already in court and the Punjab Police were investigating the shooting incident in Lahore on Thursday.

“It would not be appropriate to publicly talk on this issue,” he said.

U.S. Ambassador Cameron Munter raised the issue on Saturday with former premier Nawaz Sharif, whose PML-N party rules Punjab.

Mr. Munter expressed regret over the death of Pakistani nationals in the Lahore incident and contended that the American should be handed over to U.S. custody since he enjoyed diplomatic immunity.

Mr. Sharif “politely turned down the plea, saying that the matter was sub judice”, the Dawn newspaper reported on Sunday.

PML-N spokesman Pervaiz Rashid told the media that Mr. Sharif believed the matter should be handled by the court.

The Foreign Office had rejected the U.S. demand for freeing the American on Saturday.

“This matter is sub-judice in a court of law and the legal process should be respected,” spokesman Basit said in a statement.

The U.S. had on Saturday sought the immediate release of the American, identified in media reports as Raymond Davis, saying he was a diplomat and enjoyed diplomatic immunity.

The American shot and killed two armed youths who he claimed were trying to rob him.

A third Pakistani national died when he was hit by a U.S. consulate car rushing to the aid of the American. The U.S. embassy did an about-turn on the status of the American on Saturday.

After initially describing him as a “staff member of the U.S. Consulate General in Lahore”, the U.S. said he was a diplomat assigned to the embassy in Islamabad.

During a court appearance on Friday, the American said he had fired in self-defence. He is currently in police custody for six days.

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