Friday, February 4, 2011

US Official in Lahore: Court Extends Detention to 8Days, Gets Consular Access, and FYI, Prison Guards Are Now UnArmed

BBC News reported on February 3:

A Pakistani court has extended the detention of a US citizen arrested for killing two men in Lahore last week by another eight days. Raymond Davis was produced in the Lahore high court amid tight security. On Tuesday, the court ordered officials not to free Mr Davis and place his name on the "exit control list" to prevent him from leaving Pakistan. The US embassy has called for Mr Davis to be freed, saying he has diplomatic status and is immune from prosecution. Mr Davis has admitted that he shot the men but says he acted in self-defence because they were trying to rob him. He is in custody while police investigate the case.
Sana News on February 3, also reported the first US consular access:
Pamela Conroy, United States Consul General, on Wednesday visited US national Raymond Davis in jail in Lahore. US diplomat met Davis, who was arrested for killing three persons in Lahore, has been kept at Chohang Police Training Centre. Ms Conroy during the visit gave chocolates and other eatables to arrested US national. A team of doctors accompanied with the Consul General also conducted medical checkup of Raymond Davis.

And just so you know - the Pakistani Govt has reportedly taken the weapons off Raymond Davis’ police guards, "a step taken to avoid any ‘retaliation’ by policemen":

Via The Daily Times:
The Punjab government and law enforcement agencies have taken all the weapons from the guards of the American man who killed two youths in broad daylight at Qartaba Chowk on Thursday.

High placed sources in the agencies told Daily Times that the measure has been taken with a view to avoid any retaliation by the policemen who are guarding Raymond Davis, who killed the men.

The sources said Davis was not being kept in the Lytton Road police station lockup as required under the routine procedure but he has been moved to an undisclosed location with contradictory claims that he is being held in Sarwar Road police station or an intelligence unit near Thokar Niaz Baig. It was also learnt that the authorities concerned have taken unprecedented measures to protect Davis as possibility of any extremist or angry police guard(s) attack existed especially after the assassination of former Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer who was killed by his Elite Force bodyguard on January 4.

Meanwhile, the Online International News Network has the view from the Senate:
The Upper House of the Parliament on Tuesday demanded from government for trial against American citizen without bearing any pressure as he committed murder of three Pakistanis. It is the matter of Pakistan’s pride and honor.

Senate held it session here in Parliament House on Tuesday where senators said we won’t allow anyone to assassinate innocent Pakistanis.

Then this:

The leader of the Hazara Movement, Sardar Haider Zaman, has strongly condemned the killings of three Pakistanis at the hands of a US diplomat on Thursday in Lahore. “This is an attack on Pakistan’s sovereignty. This is not the first time the US undercover operatives and diplomats have tampered Pakistan’s dignity. It is not acceptable at all. The rulers need to take strong exception to this incident,” he said in a statement issued on Friday.

Also this:

The Opposition leader in National Assembly (NA) Ch Nisar Ali Khan had alleged that the Raymond Davis incident had taken place "due to negligence of the government as it adopted a strange policy in issuance of visas due to which the country witnessed influx of foreigners."

In, Sadiq Salim  slams the feeding frenzy of both politicians and the local media: 
It is now a familiar pattern. After every few months religious party leaders, backed by some retired civil and military officers create an anti-American frenzy. This frenzy is amplified by the ever-expanding ‘ghairat’ brigade within our newly independent media. But after a few days, the frenzy dies down. If Pakistan can live without America, why don’t we just do that? If we cannot live without the US, why must we create so much havoc in our relations when in the end we all intend to just carry on business as always?
Quite clearly, some functionaries at different levels within the government also believe that occasional outbursts of anti-American sentiments somehow increase Pakistan’s leverage in its otherwise unequal relationship with the US. It is these functionaries who leak partial or colored information that enables the media ‘ghairat’ brigade to whip up anti-American emotions. We saw this during the artificial debate over the Kerry-Lugar-Berman bill. After two weeks of noise, we accepted the aid and the conditions that everyone claimed compromised Pakistan’s sovereignty.
There have been no reports of the PML-N Punjab government refusing US aid under Kerry-Lugar-Berman on grounds that the Bill’s terms were unacceptable. No journalist who vociferously spoke against the Bill has refused to accept any favours from the Americans because of the “insult” the US allegedly inflicted on us. It was just grandstanding. We are seeing grandstanding again in the case of Raymond Davis.
We have seen Raymond Davis’ passport and visa on national TV. His last visa valid until 2012 was issued in Islamabad and not by our embassy in Washington, DC. Yet the tragic case involving him is being used as an excuse to create misgivings about our ambassador and our embassy and to restrict the very idea of an expanded US diplomatic presence in Pakistan.

It is time for Pakistan’s political and media elite to shed their hypocrisy towards the US. Every major Pakistani political figure including many America-bashers have US passports, green cards or visas. If they do not pose a threat to US security and also want their socks and shoes not to be taken off during their visits to the US then they must stop banging the drums about Americans in Pakistan. A few hundred American diplomats and officials in Pakistan, subject to national and international law, are not a threat to Pakistan. The real threat to Pakistan comes from the frenzy and madness of the ‘ghairat’ brigade that does not allow reasonable, rational and unemotional debate about most matters including relations with the US.

The US official in Lahore has been charged with double murder and illegal position of firearm. But every day a new case seems to crop up against the accused. Apparently, a petition has now been filed before the Lahore High Court for the government to prosecute the US national for "committing forgery by applying for a visa under fake name."  Another petition has been filed in court against the bail in the illegal weapon case. Yet another petition was filed in the LHC, challenging the alleged special treatment being given to the US national.

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