Several hours after the Lahore police rubbished U. S. Embassy functionary Raymond Davis' claim of acting in self-defence when he killed two men on January 27, the Consul General of Lahore Carmela Conroy said it was regrettable that the authorities did not factor in eyewitness accounts and physical evidence.

In a late night statement, Ms. Conroy refers to the American as Raymond Davis. This is the first time the Americans have referred to him by name. The statement also adopts a conciliatory tone after a week of muscle-flexing by the Americans.

``We respect the law and Pakistan's sovereignty, and expect all representatives of our government to respect the laws of our host nation. We respect the people of Pakistan and enjoy working and living in this country. Americans and Pakistanis can accomplish so much together. We need to resolve this case immediately and continue our work,… This incident was a tragedy, and we feel tremendous sorrow over the loss of life. We extend our deep sympathy to all the family members who have been affected,'' the Consul General said.

Reiterating the U. S. position that Davis should be released on grounds of diplomatic immunity, Ms. Conroy pointed out that all countries including the U. S. and Pakistan had freely agreed to abide by the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, 1961. ``Under the rules, he should be freed immediately''.

Earlier, in the day, the Lahore police had rejected Davis' claim of ``acting in self-defence'' and described his act as ``cold-blooded murder''. The police made this statement after the trial court remanded him to judicial custody. He was shifted to the Central Jail in Kot Lakhpat where security had been beefed up in anticipation of his incarceration there.

According to the Lahore police, eyewitness accounts and forensic evidence do not back up Davis' claim of acting in `self-defence' and the murder of the two men was intentional. No light was thrown on the motive. Ms. Conroy's statement draws attention to eyewitnesses who said ``Ray acted in self-defence when confronted with two armed men on a motorcycle''. Also, the statement underscores that they had loaded guns and stolen property was recovered from them.

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