Pakistan’s top court refused to intervene in the case of Raymond Davis, a CIA operative accused of murder, saying that a local court will have to rule on whether Mr. Davis is entitled to diplomatic immunity or not.
“We’ve got a very simple principle here that every country in the world that is party to the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations has upheld in the past and should uphold in the future, and that is, if our diplomats are in another country, then they are not subject to that country’s local prosecution. We expect Pakistan, that’s a signatory and recognises Mr. Davis as a diplomat, to abide by the same convention… I’m not going to discuss the specific exchanges that we’ve had [with the Pakistani government], but we’ve been very firm about this being a priority.”
Mr. Davis, a CIA operative, is being held for killing two armed men in January in Lahore, Pakistan. The United States government maintains that Mr. Davis acted in self-defence, that he has full diplomatic status and that he should be released to US authorities at once.
It is widely believed that the local court will not recognise Mr. Davis’s diplomatic status and will instead indict him for murder sometime this week, perhaps as early as Wednesday. Should that occur, the Pakistan government will essentially be inviting a full-scale crisis in US-Pakistan relations.
It is one thing to arm and provide other assistance to forces hostile to the United States of America, as Pakistan has been doing for years. It’s a “complicated” relationship and the fact remains that the US needs the supply routes through Pakistan into Afghanistan. It is another thing entirely to tell the President of the United States to frag off, which is what the Pakistan government is doing by not releasing Mr. Davis from jail and insuring his safe passage out of Pakistan.
By saying what he said at that press conference a month ago, President Obama raised the Davis matter to the presidential level. When things get raised to that level with an ally that enjoys billions of dollars in US aid and military support, there can be only one outcome (the president gets his way). If the Pakistan government goes forward with this farce of a “trial,” then the US is going to have to think long and hard about how it responds. Abandoning Mr. Davis to the Pakistani “legal system” is not an option.
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