The U.S. is mounting pressure on Pakistan at various levels to secure the release of the American “diplomat” who has been in police custody since January 27 for killing two armed Pakistanis in “self-defence” in Lahore.
The U.S. State Department is learnt to have snapped all communication with Pakistan's embassy in Washington and this was followed up with a telephone call from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to President Asif Ali Zardari over the weekend asking Islamabad to comply with its obligations under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. The same message was conveyed to Mr. Zardari by U.S. Ambassador in Pakistan Cameron Munter when he called on the President here on Monday. According to the U.S. embassy spokesperson, the necessary details establishing the American — whom the U.S. has refused to name as yet but is identified as Raymond Davis in the media — as a diplomat have been communicated to the Pakistani government.
Maintaining that Davis was being illegally detained in gross violation of international law, the spokesperson said the U.S. government had notified to Islamabad on January 20, 2010, that the American diplomat was assigned to the embassy as a member of the administrative and technical staff. “Under the Vienna Convention and Pakistani domestic law, he is entitled to full criminal immunity and cannot be lawfully arrested or detained.''
Meanwhile, the widow of one of the men gunned down by Davis committed suicide on Sunday. In her last statement, she is reported to have said she consumed poison because “I do not expect any justice from this government''. Demanding blood for blood, she also complained about the “VIP treatment” being offered to Davis.
While a section of the media reported that the federal government was likely to grant immunity to Davis to avoid a freeze in diplomatic ties, another newspaper claimed that the tough stance taken by Pakistan till now was a way to register displeasure with the American bid to implicate the ISI in the Mumbai 2008 terror attack; particularly the U.S. court summons to the serving and former ISI D-Gs.
Keywords: American diplomat issue