Raymond has diplomatic immunity: Pakistan’s ruling party

Monday, February 14, 2011

ISLAMABAD - In the first sign of giving in to the US pressure on the Raymond Davis case, ruling Pakistan Peoples Party spokesman Fozia Wahab said Monday that the arrested American official has diplomatic immunity.

Davis, a US consular staffer, was arrested Jan 27 in Lahore, the capital of Punjab province, after he shot dead two men on a motorcycle tailing him, who, he thought, were robbers. He has been jailed and investigations are under way.

Police have decided to charge him under Section 302 of the Pakistan Penal Code that deals with “murder by design”. The question of his diplomatic immunity has not been entertained by the provincial and federal governments despite repeated US pleas.

At a press conference in Karachi port city Monday, Fozia said that the “Vienna Convention grants diplomatic immunity to diplomatic as well as technical staff”.

“Pakistan is a signatory of the Vienna Convention and we must keep the law in mind before giving emotional statements,” she said, adding that “the courts are now looking at the case and would decide accordingly”.

In response to a question, Fozia said that then foreign minister “Shah Mahmood Qureshi had violated party discipline by issuing irresponsible statements on such a sensitive issue”.

Qureshi had said that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and US envoy to Pakistan Cameron Munter telephoned him and put pressure to “confirm diplomatic immunity for Raymond although it was not confirmed by Foreign Office records”.

Pakistan’s Foreign Office had initially declared that Raymond did not enjoy diplomatic immunity. A couple of petitions have also been filed against his diplomatic status and his possible handing-over to the US by the Lahore High Court.

Filed under: Accidents and Disasters

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