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Pak’s ex-FM says US shooter not diplomat
Published on 13 Feb. 2011 11:39 PM IST
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Pakistan’s former Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi disputed the U.S. authorities’ claim that the American employee who had shot dead two Pakistanis last month is a diplomat, local media reported Sunday.
Raymond Davis, who works at the American consulate in Lahore, killed two Pakistanis on Jan. 27 and the U.S. said he is a diplomat and should be freed over diplomatic immunity.
“The kind of blanket immunity Washington is pressing for Davis, is not endorsed by the official record of the Foreign Ministry,” Qureshi told daily The News.
“On the basis of the official record and the advice given to me by the technocrats and experts of the Foreign Office, I could not certify him (Raymond Davis) as a diplomat,” said Qureshi who refused to take oath in the new cabinet on Friday.
Pakistan and U.S. are stuck to their position on the issue of Davis and the controversy has led to suspension of high level talks between the two allies.
The U.S. canceled the upcoming talks between the foreign ministers of Afghanistan, Pakistan and the U.S. on Afghanistan in Washington.
Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Saturday warned the U.S. against deterioration of bilateral relations and said that pressure for the release of the accused would be counterproductive.
Secretary Salman Bashir told reporters that the U.S. citizen should not claim diplomatic immunity if he is involved in criminal activity.
The Lahore High Court, which is hearing double murder charges against Davis, said that it is the prerogative of the court to decide his fate and the government has no role. Pakistani media also rejected the diplomatic immunity claim by the U.S. and even said that Davis is working for the U.S. security agencies in Pakistan.
The police had recovered cameras, maps and some other sensitive documents from the American shooter and opposition parties are demanding his punishment in the double murder charges.
The U.S. accused had claimed that he had shot the two Pakistanis dead as they tried to loot him. The witnesses and police rejected him claim. The court has sent him to jail in Lahore.
The court has also retrained the Pakistani government not to hand over the accused to the U.S. authorities and ordered ban on his leaving Pakistan.

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