Davis’ diplomatic immunity issue shouldn’t be decided by Pak courts: US

Thursday, February 17, 2011

WASHINGTON - The United States has said that the diplomatic immunity issue of double murder-accused American official Raymond Davis is “certainly not a matter that should be resolved by courts in Pakistan.”

“We believe that diplomatic immunity is in fact - is a fact. From our standpoint, it’s not a matter in dispute. It’s certainly not a matter that should be resolved by courts in Pakistan. That said, there will be a hearing…and we will present a petition to the court that he, in fact, has diplomatic immunity,” US Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs Philip J. Crowley said during a press briefing.

He said that the US continues to stress that Davis enjoys diplomatic immunity, and that the issue “should not be a matter for the courts, and he should be released.”

“But because we are in the situation that we’re in, we are clarifying that we are prepared to investigate this matter as well,” he added.

When asked whether an American court had any kind of jurisdiction over ’something this guy may or may not have done in Pakistan,’ Crowley replied: “Well, I think as the Department of Justice has said, we as a normal practice would ourselves investigate incidents involving American citizens overseas where there has been a loss of life, and we’re prepared to do that. And obviously, where that investigation would lead, I can’t say.”

On being asked why the US administration did not talk about an American investigation at the very beginning of this saga because saying something like that at the outset might have avoided the current dilemma, Crowley said: “Well, the dilemma that we’re in now is because Pakistan has not followed through on its international obligations.”

He was also notified of Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani’s comments that the whole matter could be resolved under Sharia law if compensation were offered to the families of those killed by Davis, and asked whether this was something that the US would undertake.

Crowley replied: “Look, we’re trying to resolve this case. We’re doing it at every level of government. It’s - I can’t predict at this point precisely what steps will be taken. We just continue to stress that he has diplomatic immunity.”

When pointedly asked whether the concept of compensation had been discussed between Pakistan and the US, Crowley dodged the question, saying: “Again, we’re working as hard as we can with the Pakistani Government to resolve this case.” (ANI)

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