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جمعرات، 17 مارچ، 2011

Davis’ drama: Pakistanis People is for sale

According to the Washington Post, the negotiation of Davis`release has been underway for weeks.

"There has been a plan in the works for last three weeks," an unnamed U.S. official told the Post. " The concern was that if the actual murder trial started it would become very difficult to extricate him." 

In a dramatic development which was kept secret till the last moment, CIA Contractor Raymond Davis was released mysteriously on Wednesday, much relief to the US which was struggling to get him out of Pakistan since his arrest on Jan 27.

Davis, who was responsible for killing two Pakistanis, was flown out of the country immediately after an agreement was struck between eighteen relatives and Davis under Sharia law of Qasas and Diyat. They were paid blood money.

Davis’ case had strained Pak-US relations and intelligence agencies of both the countries were on eyeball to eyeball position. President Barack Obama publicly demanded Pakistan to release Davis and rushed John Kerry, Chairman Senate Foreign Relation Committee to Pakistan for negotiations.

His release was imminent as reports were pouring in on converging of two intelligence agencies on the issue of Davis.

The drop scene of Davis’ drama was sudden which stunned Pakistanis.

Political parties reacted sharply and clashes were reported from Lahore and other parts of Pakistan.

The release of CIA contractor Raymond Davis came after meeting of the American officials with the families of the deceased for more than six hours at the jail where the CIA contractor, Raymond A. Davis, was held. The families accepted the money, ending the case.

A five-car convoy from the United States consulate left the Kot Lakhpat jail at 4:20 p.m., local time.

Under Pakistani law, families can demand blood money, or compensation, for slain relatives. Once an agreement is reached between the parties, the state prosecution is closed. They can also demand blood for blood, in the form of a death sentence.

Davis was released from detention after around Rs. 200 million were paid to the affected families as blood money.

Since the arrest, the Obama administration pressed Pakistan to release Davis on a claim of diplomatic immunity. Pakistan’s foreign ministry, however, refused to certify Davis as a diplomat.

Neighbours of the families of the persons killed by Raymond Davis say they “haven’t seen them in two days and their homes are empty and locked.”

Initial media reports surrounding the release of Raymond Davis suggested that the families of the victims killed in the Lahore shooting had left the country on a second plane.

An Additional Sessions judge Wednesday conducted hearing of the case at Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat Jail. The court ordered release of Raymond Davis, after family members of the murdered men appeared in the court and pardoned the US national after an agreement was reached between the two sides.

Raymond Davis who was working as a CIA contractor was arrested on January 27 after he shot dead two Pakistanis in Lahore. Another vehicle of US Consulate had rushed to the scene to rescue Raymond but in this attempt, another Pakistani who was riding a motor-bike died due to hitting by the US Consulate vehicle. US officials denied Pakistan access to the vehicle, and the occupants were widely believed to have left the country.

The killings by Raymond Davis in Lahore in January strained relations between Pakistan and US. The US repeatedly insisted Davis was an embassy employee and enjoyed diplomatic immunity, particularly after it emerged that he was working for the CIA as a contractor. Various parties including Jamaat-e-Islami and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf agitated and demanded punishment to Raymond Davis. The Davis case had sparked protests in Pakistan, with religious groups angrily denouncing the Ameri-can who claimed he acted in self-defence, to fend off an armed robbery when he shot dead the two men.

Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah said the court released Raymond Davis after the family members of the murdered men appeared in the court and pardoned the US national. He said the Punjab government had no role whatsoever in the release of Raymond.

It may be noted that blood money or ‘Diyat’ is a provision of Islamic sharia in which compensation can be paid to relatives of those killed to secure a pardon.

The deal ends a long-simmering diplomatic stand-off between Pakistan and the United States.

“The court first indicted him but the families later told court that they had accepted the blood money and they had pardoned him.”

After release of Raymond Davis, the US Consulate officials took him immediately to Lahore airport where a US Air Force plane was ready to take him out of Pakistan.

According to reports Raymond was flown from Lahore at 4.45 PM for Bagram airbase in Afghanistan.

The U.S. concealed that Davis was working for the CIA, calling him a “diplomat,” but London’s Guardian newspaper unmasked him.

Leaders of the political and religious parties emphatically condemned Raymond Davis’ release and showed grave concern over his sudden and dramatic release. Chief, Jamaat-e-Islami, Munawar Hassan said that the US terrorist who was released after payment of blood money was also involved in dubious anti-Pakistan activities and after release his mission would remain unexposed for ever.

The JI has called a country-wide strike against the illegal release of Raymond Davis today (Thursday). Chief Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) Imran Khan said that Raymond Davis release was fixed match. He said the court decision disappointed him.

He held responsible the Punjab and federal governments for the illegal release. He said that PTI would stage a country-wide protest against the Davis release. Leader of opposition in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali khan said, the government has bowed heads of the entire nation with shame by releasing Raymond Davis.

He said that the decision has humiliated the national dignity. Government should have taken the nation into confidence prior to taking such a drastic step, he added. MNA Sahibzada Fazal Karim said the release shocked the entire nation. Pakistan Muslim League Q leader Syed Kamil Ali Agha termed the CIA contractor Raymond Davis release as shameful act.

Former Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that Raymond Davis was released under the ‘Diyat’ (Blood money). He said his stance had been proved right as Davis did not deserve blank immunity. Blood Money is the legal right of the heirs.

Former PPP Secretary Information, Fauzia Wahab said that her statements regarding Raymond Davis proved accurate and the court acquitted him after settlement with the heirs.

The New York Times reported that after meeting with US officials for more than six hours at the jail, the families accepted the money, Asad Manzoor a lawyer for the families told the newspaper.

Shortly after his release, Raymond Davis was flown to Kabul, where he would undergo medical examination and be interviewed by US officials. The lawyer complained that the families of the victims were taken from their homes late Tuesday night by the police and pressed by officials to accept the payment, the newspaper said members of the two families including women were present in jail all day and left in two cars after the Americans left. American newspaper Washington Post reported the US Ambassador Cameron Munter accompanied Raymond Davis in the flight to Kabul, a US official said. He added that there had been a plan in work for the last three weeks. The official confirmed that blood money had been paid. The Post added that three families each received between 700,000 dollars and one million dollars as part of the deal. The Washington Times said that Raja Mohammad Irshad, a lawyer for the families said 19 male and female relatives appeared in court to accept $ 2.34 million blood money.

It may be recalled that Pakistan Observer on March 11 carried front page exclusive news-report that Raymond Davis would be released soon after payment of blood-money to the blood-relatives of the Pakistanis killed by Davis.
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