ABC Net & Islamabad Globe & This Can’t Be Happening & Dawn – 2011-02-21 23:17:43
American who Sparked Diplomatic Crisis over Lahore Shooting was CIA Spyâ€¨â€¨
Declan Walsh and Ewen MacAskill / The Guardian â€¨â€¨
Raymond Davis was employed by CIA ‘beyond shadow of doubt.’ â€¨The former soldier stands charged with murder over deaths of two young men. Davis is accused of shooting one man twice in the back as he fledâ€¨â€¨ and pumping several rounds into the men as they lay wounded on the ground.
LAHORE & WASHINGTON (February 20, 2011) — The American who shot dead two men on a Lahore street, triggering a diplomatic crisis between Pakistan and the United States, is a CIA agent who was on assignment at the time of the incident.
Raymond Davis has been the subject of widespread speculation since he opened fire with a semi-automatic Glock pistol on the two men who had pulled up alongside his car at a red light on 25 January.
Pakistani authorities charged him with murder, but the Obama administration has insisted he is an “administrative and technical official” attached to its Lahore consulate and is entitled to diplomatic immunity.
Based on interviews in the US and Pakistan, the Guardian can confirm that the 36-year-old former special forces soldier is employed by the CIA. “It’s beyond a shadow of a doubt,” said a senior Pakistani intelligence official.
The revelation may complicate American efforts to free Davis, who says he acted in self-defence when he opened fire on two men, both of whom were carrying guns.
Pakistani prosecutors, who say the men were petty criminals trying to rob him at gunpoint, accuse the spy of using excessive force, getting out of his car to shoot one of them twice in the back as he ran away. The man’s body was discovered 30 feet from his motorbike.
“It went way beyond what we define as self-defence. It was not commensurate with the threat,” a senior police official involved in the case told the Guardian.
The Pakistani government is aware of Davis’s CIA status yet has kept quiet in the face of immense American pressure to free him under the Vienna convention. Last week President Barack Obama described Davis as “our diplomat” and dispatched his chief diplomatic troubleshooter, Senator John Kerry, to Islamabad. Kerry returned home empty-handed.
Many Pakistanis are outraged at the idea of an armed American rampaging through their second largest city; some analysts have warned of Egyptian-style protests if Davis is released. The government, fearful of a furious public backlash, says it needs until 14 March to decide whether Davis enjoys immunity.
Outrage has been heightened by the death of a third man who was crushed by an American vehicle as it rushed to Davis’s aid. Pakistani officials believe the vehicle’s occupants were also CIA because they came from the same suburban house where Davis lived and were heavily armed.
The US refused Pakistani demands to interrogate the two men and on Sunday a senior Pakistani intelligence official said they had left the country. “They have flown the coop, they are already in America,” he said.
ABC News reported that the men had the same diplomatic visa as Davis. It is not unusual for US intelligence officers, like their counterparts round the world, to carry diplomatic passports.
The US has engaged in an edgy public relations offensive to free Davis, accusing Pakistan of illegally detaining him and riding roughshod over international treaties. Angry politicians have proposed slashing Islamabad’s $1.5bn (about Â£900m) annual aid; the state department repeatedly describes him as “a member of the administrative and technical staff of the US embassy in Islamabad.”
But Washington’s case is hobbled by its resounding silence on Davis’s background and role. Davis served in the US special forces for 10 years before leaving in 2003 to become a private security contractor. A senior Pakistani official said he believed Davis worked with Xe, the controversial firm formerly known as Blackwater, before joining the CIA.
Pakistani suspicions about Davis’s role were stoked by the equipment police confiscated from his car after the shooting: an unlicensed pistol, a long-range radio, a GPS device, an infrared torch and a camera with pictures of buildings around Lahore.
“This is not the work of a diplomat. He was doing espionage and surveillance activities,” said the Punjab law minister, Rana Sanaullah, adding that he had “confirmation” that Davis was a CIA employee.
A number of US media outlets later learned about Davis’s CIA role but have kept it under wraps at the request of the Obama administration, which fears that disclosure could inflame opinion in Pakistan and possibly put Davis at risk.
A Colorado television station, 9NEWS, initially made a connection after speaking to Davis’s wife, who lives outside Denver. She referred its inquiries to a number in Washington which turned out to be the CIA. The station subsequently removed the CIA reference from its website at the request of the US government.
Nicole Vap, an executive producer, said: “Because of the safety concerns, we decided to amend the story. But it remains accurate.”
The episode has badly damaged relations between the CIA and the ISI, Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence spy agency. Some reports, quoting Pakistani intelligence officials, have suggested that the men Davis killed, Faizan Haider, 21, and Muhammad Faheem, 19, were ISI agents with orders to shadow Davis because he crossed an unspecified “red line.”
A senior police official, however, confirmed American claims that the men were petty thieves â€“ investigators found stolen mobile phones on their bodies, as well as small amounts of foreign currency and illegal weapons â€“ but did not rule out an intelligence link.
A senior ISI official denied the dead men worked for the spy agency but admitted the CIA relationship had been badly damaged. “Their tactics of using good cop, bad cop do not work. We are a sovereign country and if they want to work with us, they need to develop a trusting relationship on the basis of equality. Being arrogant and demanding is not the way to do it,” he said.
Tensions between the spy agencies have grown in recent months. The CIA Islamabad station chief was forced to leave in December after being named in a civil lawsuit, and the ISI was angered when its chief, General Shuja Pasha, was named in a New York lawsuit related to the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
Although the two spy services co-operate in the CIA’s drone campaign along the Afghan border, there has not been a drone strike since 23 January — the longest lull since June 2009. Experts are unsure whether both events are linked.
With the next hearing scheduled for 14 March, Davis awaits his fate in Kot Lakhpat jail in Lahore. Pakistani officials say they have taken exceptional measures to ensure his safety, including ringing the prison with paramilitary Punjab Rangers. The law minister, Sanaullah, said Davis was being kept in a “high security zone” and was receiving food from visitors from the US consulate.
Sanaullah said another 140 foreigners were in the same facility, many on drugs charges. Several press reports have speculated that the authorities worry the US could try to spring Davis in what one termed a “Hollywood-style sting.”
“All measures for his security have been taken,” said the ISI official. “He’s as safe as can be.”
Pakistan Orders Arrest of Second US Consular Worker
ISLAMABAD (February 19, 2011) — A Pakistani court has ordered the arrest of a second US consular employee following the fatal shooting of two men in Lahore. Consular official Raymond Davis was arrested last month for shooting two men who he says were trying to rob him. A third man was run over by another official who was sent to pick up Mr. Davis.
Lahore politician Ejaz Chaudhry says Pakistan will never bow to US demands to release him because of his apparent diplomatic immunity.
“He is a killer. He is a cold-blooded murderer and the people of Pakistan are very clear about this issue,” he said. “They know Raymond is a spy. He is a terrorist here in Pakistan. And he must be penalised in Pakistan.”
CIA May Shut Up ‘Davis’ by Killing Him: Lahore Jailers
Officials: Directive issued to strictly check food provided to alleged US killer
LAHORE (February 2011) — Islamabad has increased the security around the US national “Raymond Davis.” Fearing that the high-profile prisoner may be killed, the Pakistani police, intelligence, civilian and military authorities have taken a few extraordinary security measures to protect Davis. There is apprehension about a possible attempt on “Davis’s” life.
Some suspect that the Americans could take “Davis” out because he knows too much. Russian agencies have him identified as part of the CIA Task Force with deep links to the terrorists.
Pakistan has never arrested an American mercenary before, so there is a learning curve. Islamabad has increased the security around the US national â€œRaymond Davis.â€
Fearing that the high-profile prisoner may be killed the Pakistani Police, Intelligence, Civilian and Military authorities have taken a few extraordinary security measures to protect Davis. They have also planned to keep Davis at some distance from the US officials visiting him. The jail authorities decided to disallow physical contact between Davis and US officials, who visit him. “Davis’ visitors would now be allowed to interact with him from across a glass wall, as it happens in the West and the United States.”
There [are] apprehensions about a possible attempt on “Davis'” life. Some suspect that the Americans could take “Davis” out because he knows too much. The Russian Agencies have him identified as part of the CIA Task Force with deep links to the terrorists.â€¨â€¨
According to news reports emanating from Pakistan the new security measures include limiting physical contact between Davis and the US officials and diplomats. According to officials a directive has been issued to strictly check the food provided to the American killer. Outside food will not be allowed to be given to the CIA mercenary.
According to a new report: “A food committee has been constituted, which would ensure that he is not provided poisoned food in the jail.” According to the press reports, “Even chocolates, brought by the US officials, would not be provided to Davis.” Surveillance cameras had also been installed zeroing in on Davis in the Kot Lakhpat Jail.â€¨â€¨
“Davis,” despite being a lowly technical assistant, has the kind of importance that US President Barack Obama had to ask for his early release and an influential Senator John Kerry rushed to Pakistan to try to take him back to the US. It snot often that Pakistan arrests a diplomat, especially one carrying a customized Block Pistol which uses an illegal bore.â€¨â€¨
Police in Lahore arrested “Raymond Davis” after he shot dead two Pakistanis on Jan. 27. He shot the kids in the back (shooting them through the front windshield of his vehicle) and then got out of his vehicle walked over the injured cyclists and then pumped five bullets into each young man. Davis claimed that he killed them in self-defense because they were trying to rob him. Davis was in his colossal bullet-proof SUV, they were on puny 70 cc motorbikes. How could they rob him?â€¨â€¨
The US government demanded the urgent release of Davis with conflicting statements about his status. The case is still in the Lahore High Court which has placed Davis’ name in the exit control list. The court has directed the Pakistani government to decide within 15 days that whether Davis is a diplomat or not. The Court has also directed the Police to find the other murderer.â€¨â€¨
The key document governing diplomatic immunity is the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, specifically articles 29, 31, 37, and 39. Article 29: A diplomatic agent “shall not be liable to any form of arrest or detention.”
It is obvious that Mr. “Davis” was not a diplomat. Pakistan Law requires the diplomat be identified as such and that his name be submitted to the Pakistani Foreign Office which has the option of approving the diplomatic immunity or not. Mr. Davisâ€™s name was not on the list of US diplomats on the day of the accident. The US Embassy tried to submit his name the next day.â€¨â€¨
According to Brig (Retd) Shaukat Qadir: “On January 25th 2011, just two days before Davis shot and killed the two young Pakistanis, the US Embassy submitted a list of its diplomatic and non-diplomatic staff in Pakistan to the Pakistani Foreign Office (FO), as all foreign nations are required to do annually. The list included 48 names. Raymond Davis was not on the list. The day after Davis shot and killed the two Pakistanis, the US Embassy suddenly submitted a ‘revised’ list to the Foreign Office which added Davisâ€™ name!â€¨â€¨
“When Pakistani police took Davis into custody on January 27th, he had on his person an ordinary American passport with a valid ordinary Pakistan visa, issued by the Pakistan Embassy in Washington. On January 28th, a member of the US Consulate wanted the Pakistani police to exchange that passport in Davis’ possession with another one. The fresh passport being offered was a diplomatic passport with a valid diplomatic visa dated sometime in 2009. This visa was stamped in Islamabad by the FO!”
It gets ridiculously funnier. The prosecutor representing the Punjab government has presented two letters from the US Embassy as evidence before the Lahore High Court, forwarded to the Punjab government through the FO. The first letter, dated January 27, reads: “Davis is an employee of the US Consulate General Lahore and holder of a diplomatic passport.” The second, dated February 3rd, states that Davis is a member of the “administrative and technical staff of the US Embassy Islamabad!” Just how gullible do the Americans take Pakistanis to be!â€¨â€¨
The Washington Post admits that “The US embassy complicated matters” by first sending a diplomatic note to the Pakistani Foreign Ministry on Jan. 27 describing Davis as “an employee of US Consulate General Lahore and holder of a diplomatic passport.” A second note, on Feb. 3, described him as “a member of the administrative and technical staff of the US embassy.”
The difference in the phrasing of Davis’s employment confirms that if his status had been accpeted “Davis” would have been covered by 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, and thus has a lesser form of immunity. Foreign Minsiter Mahmood Quresh clearly stated that “Davis” did not have blanket and universal immunity that the the US has claimed.”
“But consular staff also enjoy immunity from the jurisdiction of the receiving state with respect to their consular functions.” Mr. “Davis” was not perfoming any Consular functions in Mozung Chungi.â€¨â€¨
Article 31: â€A diplomatic agent shall enjoy immunity from the criminal jurisdiction of the receiving State,â€ with certain exceptions involving property and commercial activity.â€¨â€¨
Article 37: “Members of the administrative and technical staff of the mission, together with members of their familiesâ€ will have the same privileges and immunities in articles 29 and 31 as long as they are not nationals or permanent residents of the country. The one exception is that they are not immune from civil suits for acts performed outside the course of their official duties.â€¨â€¨
Article 39: “Every person entitled to privileges and immunities shall enjoy them from the moment he enters the territory of the receiving State on proceeding to take up his post or, if already in its territory, from the moment when his appointment is notified to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs or such other ministry as may be agreed.” â€¨â€¨The Notification is missing in the case of Mr. “Davis.”
Article 43 of that Convention states that “consular officers and consular employees shall not be amenable to the jurisdiction of the judicial or administrative authorities of the receiving State in respect of acts performed in the exercise of consular functions.”
There are exceptions for some civil disputes, such as “damage arising from an accident in the receiving State caused by a vehicle, vessel or aircraft.”â€¨â€¨ — the key words are in respect of acts PERFORMED IN THE EXERCISE OF HIS CONSULAR FUNCTIONS.” Mr. “Davis,” while he was shooting two kids in the back (through the front windshield of his SUV) with an illegal Glock pistol, was obviously not performing his Consular functions.
In fact, there are no identifiable Consular Functions which Mr. “Davis” performed at any time. He was visiting places which are no-go areas and taking pictures of places which photography is prohibited.â€¨â€¨
Even the Washington Post admitted that “President Obama, however, may have pushed the envelope when he referred to Davis as ‘our diplomat.’ Davis may have had diplomatic cover, but not many diplomats carry a Glock pistol — and then use it with lethal results. The circumstances of his employment — and the incident in Lahore — remain too murky to make a definitive judgment on the president’s statement at this point.”
Why Pakistan Cannot Release
The Man Who Calls Himself ‘Raymond Davisâ€¨â€¨’
Shaukat Qadirâ€¨/ ThisCantBeHappening
ISLAMABAD (February 19, 2011) — By now journalists everywhere (except in the US) have come to the conclusion that there is far, far more to Raymond Davis than is being revealed by the US or by Pakistani officials. That he was engaged in anti-state activities in Pakistan and that the two young men he killed were intelligence agents tailing him is virtually an accepted fact.
The US, never famous for its diplomacy (The Ugly American, which made that point more than half a century ago, became a best seller and a very successful movie, starring Marlon Brando), seems to have discovered fresh depths to its strong-arm, coercive diplomacy. The mere fact that no less a personage than the US President has asked that this low-ranked person be granted absolute immunity, is indicative of the US desperation to get him him out of Pakistan and its court system.
One Western journalist has referred to this incident as the “biggest intelligence fiasco since the downing of a U-2 by the erstwhile USSR in 1962.” Obviously, the apprehension is that were he to be tried and convicted in Pakistan and handed a lengthy prison, or even a death sentence, Davis might “spill the beans” and that, were he to do so, those Wikileaks cables could pale into insignificance!
That, in itself, is more than sufficient reason for Pakistan to refuse to hand him over; but there is far more to Pakistanâ€™s problems regarding this issue than just that. However, before we get to those, some comically farcical blunders committed by the US Embassy in Pakistan merit narration, since I am fairly certain these are not being reported by the US media. They illustrate clearly the extent of the desperation American officials are feeling!
On January 25th 2011, just two days before Davis shot and killed the two young Pakistanis, the US Embassy submitted a list of its diplomatic and non-diplomatic staff in Pakistan to the Pakistani Foreign Office (FO), as all foreign nations are required to do annually. The list included 48 names. Raymond Davis was not on the list.
The day after Davis shot and killed the two Pakistanis, the US Embassy suddenly submitted a â€œrevisedâ€ list to the Foreign Office which added Davisâ€™ name!
When Pakistani police took Davis into custody on January 27th, he had on his person an ordinary American passport with a valid ordinary Pakistan visa, issued by the Pakistan Embassy in Washington. On January 28th, a member of the US Consulate wanted the Pakistani police to exchange that passport in Davisâ€™ possession with another one. The fresh passport being offered was a diplomatic passport with a valid diplomatic visa dated sometime in 2009. This visa was stamped in Islamabad by the FO!
It gets ridiculously funnier. The prosecutor representing the Punjab government has presented two letters from the US Embassy as evidence before the Lahore High Court, forwarded to the Punjab government through the FO. The first letter, dated January 27, reads: â€œDavis is an employee of the US Consulate General Lahore and holder of a diplomatic passport.”
The second, dated February 3rd, states that Davis is a member of the â€œadministrative and technical staff of the US Embassy Islamabad!â€ Just how gullible do the Americans take Pakistanis to be!
Before moving on to the political implications for Pakistan, were Davis to be granted immunity, it is important to review some domestic impediments, without which, he would never have been taken into custody.
Asif Ali Zardari might be a politically empowered president domestically, but if the US asked him to jump, he would ask “how high?” If they asked him to bend over, he would ask, “how low?” Had Davis committed the murders in Islamabad, under federal jurisdiction, he would have been flown out of the country within hours of his crime before any furor could have time to develop. But he slaughtered his victims in Lahore, in the jurisdiction of the Punjab state government, manned by the PML(N), which is Zardariâ€™s partyâ€™s main opposition.
Despite repeated and numerous requests from the US Embassy and the Federal government, the Punjab government has stood firm and has even denied Davis the comforts normally afforded a political prisoner. Instead, Davis has the same facilities that any common Pakistani criminal has, in the rather notorious Kot Lakpat jail in Lahore (though he is being separated from the general prison population for his own safety).
Then there is the superior judiciary; the Supreme Court (SC), which awaits Davis with sleeves rolled up, more than ready to ensure justice in defiance of Zardariâ€™s wishes. Meanwhile, Davis has already been indicted before the Lahore High Court (LHC), which has extended his judicial remand in police custody to allow time for more interrogation. Therefore, even if the LHC could be intimidated, an appeal before the SC is inevitable.
Finally there is the Pakistani Pentagon, the General Headquarters, commonly known as GHQ. Now that it is a fairly accepted fact in Pakistan that Davis is guilty of anti-Pakistan activities and has killed two members of an intelligence agency, probably the well-known Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI), GHQ will have a say in his disposal. Consequently, despite Zardariâ€™s desire to please the US, he may find himself hamstrung.
Under Pakistani law, there is provision for “Blood Money,” i.e. that the next of kin can accept monetary remuneration and then pardon the killer before the court. Despite pressure brought to bear on the families of Zeeshan and Faheem, the ill-fated pair that was murdered, both families have unanimously refused to accept Blood Money. In fact, tempers are running so high that local wealthy businessmen have publicly urged them to refuse, with the promise that they would match any sum offered to them by the US!
When rumors were floating that the US might cut a deal, offering Aafiya Siddique — the Pakistani scientist convicted in the US of attempting to murder two US interrogators and now serving a controversial 86-year sentence — in exchange for Davis, Siddiqueâ€™s own family refused to accept her back on these terms and spoke to local dailies urging the Punjab government not to release Davis for any reason.
Based on all of the above, I personally doubt that Davisâ€™ immunity plea will be accepted. However, if despite everything, his claim were accepted, what would be the political repercussions?
Thatâ€™s the million-dollar question!
The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), known in the US media as the Pakistan Taliban, has issued a warning to the government of dire consequences if Davis is released. That would mean suicide attacks, murder and mayhem would immediately follow his release. Targets might well include any judges involved in the decision.
The youth of Pakistan–who rose to a pedestal in my eyes during last yearâ€™s floods, when young boys and girls defied our social taboos (sometimes even parental edicts) in the hundreds of thousands, spending many nights away from home so as to assist those affected by the floods and demonstrating courage, determination, warmth, and patriotism of a level I had not expected — have again joined hands over this case.
They can be found in droves on the web; exhorting the Pakistan government to refuse US aid, promising to raise donations from their resources and the public if the US cuts it off, and urging the government to withstand US pressure and refuse Davis immunity. They are also vowing that if immunity is granted, a youth movement of unprecedented proportions will start and, that like the historic Long March for the restoration of the judiciary in March 2009, which could have toppled the PPP government, this youth movement will succeed in toppling the government, where the Long March let it off the hook when its demands were met.
Itâ€™s not just the youth either. Every shopkeeper, cab driver, vendor and ordinary laborer that I have spoken with is unanimous in expressing the view that they will rise to demonstrate and overthrow this government, if Davis is granted immunity.
When the Egyptian People Power revolution started, I explained to a number of friends, local and foreign, why it was unlikely to spread to Pakistan. If Davis is granted immunity, though, I am more than likely to be proven wrong. Here too, as in Egypt, it is more than likely that GHQ will refuse to turn their guns on the demonstrators. But the fall of the PPP government might be the least of our concerns.
Despite the numerical increase in what used to be an infinitesimally small number of Islamic extremists, I have argued forcefully that there is, for the immediate future, no fear of Islamic forces becoming dominant in Pakistan. I have frequently cited the unanimous support for the military in the use of force against TTP — support which persists to date, despite suicide attacks. In fact, each suicide attack increases the determination of the people to fight terrorists.
Davis, however, could change that. Granting him immunity, in my opinion, could be the sole act that could provide an excuse for militant Islam to become dominant in Pakistan.
So, tread carefully, Mr Obama. You have already made one blunder by stoking unrest in Pakistan, using Raymond Davis, or whatever his name is, and his ilk, and have been caught with both hands in the cookie jar. But in trying to avoid the repercussions of this blunder, you could commit another of even more disastrous proportions — one that would reverberate around the world. You could create the realization of your own worst nightmare: a nuclear Pakistan dominated by religious extremist forces.
It might still not happen this way, but the path you are treading certainly is one that leads in the direction of converting that nightmare into reality.
Shaukat Qadir retired as a Brigadier from the Pakistan infantry in 1999. He was the founder, vice president and, briefly, president of a think tank. He now divides his time between teaching, studying many subjects, including journalism, and baby-sitting his grandchildren. He was a regular writer for the late Far East.
Probe Finds Connection between Davis, Drone Attacks
KARACHI (February 18, 2011) — Investigation teams were astonished to learn about Raymond Davisâ€™s alleged connections in North Waziristan, sources told DawnNews. Sources have revealed that a GPS chip recovered from Davis was being used in identifying targets for drone attacks in the tribal region.
It was also learnt during the probe that Davis made up to 12 visits to the tribal areas without informing Pakistani officials. The 36- year-old US official was reluctant in giving out information about his visits to the tribal region, sources added.
The US Embassy officials were exerting pressure on the authorities, asking them not to expose the information received from Davis. Meanwhile, the Punjab government has shared the investigation and the possessions recovered from Davis with the federal government, said sources.
Was Davis Running Drone Programme in Pakistan?â€¨
Chidanand Rajghattaâ€¨â€¨/ Times Of India
WASHINGTON (February 18, 2011) — A mysterious halt to U.S Predator strikes on Pakistan after the Raymond Davis incident in Lahore has led to intense speculation the American “diplomat” was connected to the Drone program even as Washington and Islamabad are going eyeball-to-eyeball over his status.
Davis, 36, was apprehended by Pakistani police after he shot dead two Pakistanis on a busy Lahore thoroughfare on January 27, four days after the last drone US Drone strike in Pakistan. There has not been a single strike in the 25 days since then, making it the third-longest period of inactivity since the US ramped up the Predator program to take out terrorists infesting Pakistan’s frontier regions, according to Long War Journal (LWJ), a blog that tracks US Predator attacks.
Speculation is now rife that Davis was somehow connected to the Predator program since he was reportedly carrying a GPS, telescope, camera and assorted equipment not usually associated with thoroughbred diplomats. Pakistani authorities have also accused him of unauthorized travels to the Frontier region and being in touch with extremist elements in Waziristan, which suggests he might have been coordinating the attacks with US moles in the region.
While Davis claimed that he shot the two Pakistanis in self-defense when they were trying to rob him, some reports have said they were ISI tails assigned to follow him because the Pakistani intelligence felt he had crossed certain unspecified “red lines.” Those red lines may have involved discovering the Pakistani establishment’s links with terrorists group, a pursuit which led to the death of Wall Street Journalist Danny Pearl.
According to the LWJ, it is also possible the Obama administration has halted the Drone strikes for political reasons, as Washington negotiates Davis’ release.
A Lahore court on Thursday gave the Pakistani government three weeks to determine whether Davis had diplomatic immunity while extending his custody, even as Washington demanded that Islamabad (and not the court) make the call immediately and release him.â€¨â€¨
But a bitter wrangle has erupted in Islamabad between ultra-nationalist/pro-Jihadi elements in the government determined to stand up to Washington and deny Davis diplomatic immunity and those in favor of immunity because of Pakistan’s parlous financial situation and its need to remain in Washington’s good books.â€¨â€¨
Pakistan’s ousted foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, who signed up with the former group, lost his job earlier this week for his stand, and on Wednesday, foreign office spokesman Abdul Basit was replaced overnight after he too toed an anti-American line.
On Thursday, Pakistan’s prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani warned his new cabinet not to speak out of turn on the Davis issue.â€¨â€¨
Amid all this political and diplomatic brouhaha though, there has been a reprieve on the ground in the Frontier regions from incessant Drone attacks that sometimes numbered two to three a week. According to LWJ, the two most extended periods of operational inactivity so far have occurred in 2009. The longest recorded pause was 33 days, from Nov. 4 to Dec. 8, 2009. The second-longest pause was 28 days, from May 16 to June 14, 2009.
Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.