PPP leader’s stand on ‘illegal’ Davis arrest echoes US’ ‘diplomatic immunity’ argument

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

WASHINGTON - Pakistan People Party spokesperson Fauzia Wahab’s invoking of the Vienna Convention in the case of double-murder accused US diplomat Raymond Davis is the first time a prominent Pakistani official has publicly backed the international agreement in this regard.

PPP Information Secretary Wahab had said on Monday that Davis had a diplomatic visa, and that he could neither be arrested nor kept in custody under the Vienna Convention.

“He (Davis) is a technical member of the US embassy’s diplomatic staff and according to Pakistani laws, any diplomat and technical or administrative staff cannot be arrested or taken into custody,” she was quoted, as telling reporters at the Karachi Press Club.

The US State Department has been demanding Davis’ release based on the same points since last month’s shooting incident.

It is noteworthy that Wahab’s comments come just a day after the Taliban issued a life threat to anyone involved in Davis’ release.

“Whether he is a judge, police, lawyer, army, policy maker or a politician, we will target him. We will kill him,” ABC News quoted a Taliban spokesman, as telling a news agency on Sunday.

36-year-old Davis was arrested after allegedly shooting dead two men on the streets of Lahore, who the US State Department said were trying to rob him. A third Pakistani man was struck and killed by a vehicle that was reportedly racing to Davis’ aid.

The US official’s continuing detention, his recent move to a prison on judicial remand, and the apparent impending murder charge could infuriate the United States, the report said.

A senior US official said that so long as Davis was detained, any major US-Pakistan meeting would be dominated by a discussion about Davis- making normal bilateral discussions right now difficult to impossible, it added. (ANI)

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