Kerry heads to Pakistan after formal complaint against Davis

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

ISLAMABAD - Police in Pakistan Tuesday lodged a formal complaint in Lahore against US consular staffer Raymond Davis, arrested on charges of killing two Pakistani men, even as John Kerry, the chairman of the US Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee, was expected to arrive here Tuesday night to discuss the status of the US official.

Police submitted a challan - a formal complaint - against Davis before a court in Lahore Tuesday. The complaint says his (Davis) claim of acting in self-defence is false and not verified through investigations”.

Davis kept firing at the boys after coming out of his vehicle even though they were on the run,” the document said, adding: There were no bullets in the pistol of Faizan, one of the two boys”.

The challan, as the document is called in Pakistan, submitted on behalf of Faizan’s bother Imran, also revealed that the accused had not cooperated with authorities during investigation”.

The next hearing will take place Feb 25 before an additional district and sessions judge instead of the judicial magistrate who has been hearing the case till now.

Police have booked Davis under Section 302 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), which deals with “murder by design”, and the sessions court can award capital punishment to the accused in this case if found guilty.

Davis was arrested by Lahore police Jan 27 on charges of killing two youngsters at a busy intersection. He later claimed before the court that he was acting in self-defence and that they were trying to rob him at an ATM machine.

The challan submitted by police negates that claim and has placed his fate in the hands of the court.

The US administration has pleaded for his release under the cover of diplomatic immunity. However, the Pakistani government has asked the US to wait for the court verdict.

The grant of diplomatic immunity and his possible handing over to the US has also been challenged in court.

John Kerry, in his meetings with Pakistani government officials, is expected to push for Davis’ release. The US state department spokesman said the US will produce evidence before the Pakistani court Thursday to verify that Davis was part of the diplomatic staff and enjoyed immunity.

Earlier, former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had revealed that US Secretary of State “Hillary Clinton had forced me to confirm diplomatic immunity of Davis although it was not confirmed by the records of Foreign Office”.

The members of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) criticised Qureshi for issuing irresponsible statements at a crucial time”.

However Tuesday, Qureshi and the PPP appeared to have buried the hatchet after the ruling party declared that no disciplinary action would be taken against him for his remarks.

Qureshi said in a statement that he had “no personal grievances” against the party and its leadership over his exclusion from the 22-strong ministrial batch inducted Friday.

He was offered the water and power ministry in the downsizing of the cabinet last week but refused. Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has not yet named a new foreign minister.

Qureshi said he respected the party’s decision to change the cabinet, Dawn reported Tuesday.

Filed under: Accidents and Disasters

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