Cornered Zardari asks US to respect Pak judiciary in Davis issue standoff

Thursday, February 17, 2011

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari has asked the United States to respect his country’s judiciary, which has put US official Raymond Davis on trial for shooting dead two Pakistani men in Lahore last month.

While the US has repeatedly called for the release of Davis on the grounds on diplomatic immunity under the Vienna Convention, Pakistan has so far maintained that the case is sub judice and the court should only decide on the sensitive matter.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John F. Kerry, who was in Pakistan to try to “help tone down the rhetoric and reaffirm the US partnership with Pakistan,” in the wake of the Davis detention issue, met President Zardari.

Briefing the media about the meeting, Zardar’s spokesperson Farhatullah Babar said the president told Kerry that the Davis issue was not as simple as it was sometimes being portrayed.

“It is a complex issue with several dimensions all of which had to be taken into account for an amicable resolution,” Xinhua quoted Zardari, as saying.

“We wish an early and amicable resolution of the issue,” he added.

The matter is before the court, which has also fixed a date for hearing, and Pakistan expects that its judicial processes will be respected, Babar quoted Zardari, as saying.

It is noteworthy that Kerry had earlier sought to reassure the Pakistanis by announcing that the United States would launch its own probe into the Davis matter.

“I can give you the assurance that our Department of Justice will conduct a criminal investigation… and let that facts speak for themselves,” Kerry had said during his trip to Pakistan.

During the meeting, Zardari also said that the strategic partnership and the mutually cordial relations between Pakistan and the US should not be allowed to be sacrificed or compromised by predicating them on any single issue.

The president emphasised that there was a need to proceed with caution on the issue, showing respect for sensitivities and sensibilities of all concerned, adding that it was important for both countries to do so for the sake of mutual trust. (ANI)

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