Releasing Davis may give rise to Egypt-like revolution in ‘outraged’ Pakistan

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

LAHORE - Pakistan may witness a revolution like that in Egypt and Tunisia if double murder-accused US official Raymond Davis is granted diplomatic immunity and released from detention, the Pakistani public and analysts say.

Inspired by the popular uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, people in Pakistan are itching for a reason to take their disdain for President Asif Ali Zardari’s government to the streets, and releasing Davis on the grounds of diplomatic immunity may give them a strong cause.

“We would organize students in Lahore and across the country, and create a movement that would turn into a revolution,” The Los Angeles Times quoted Pakistani college student Gulraiz Iqbal, who is a leader of the Lahore student wing of an opposition party, Movement for Justice, as saying.

“We’re inspired by the examples of Tunisia and Egypt because their leaders were agents for the U.S. We have the same situation here,” he added.

Analysts are of the view that the tumult sweeping through the Middle East could give demonstrators in Pakistan the momentum that Zardari and his government would struggle to withstand.

The government has reeled from one crisis to the next since the ouster of military ruler Pervez Musharraf in 2008, and if Davis is released without a trial, experts say, it could be the last straw.

“The problem is that the government is so weak,” said Talat Masood, a security analyst and retired Pakistani general. “The government thinks that because of what’s happening in Egypt, the people need only an excuse, and this might be the one.”

Photos of protesters hoisting banners that read “Hang Raymond Davis!” appear every few days in Pakistani newspapers, the report said, adding that Islamist parties capable of mobilizing thousands of demonstrators have also vowed to rally against the government if Davis is freed.

As a result, the Pakistan government has so far been reluctant to make a decision regarding diplomatic immunity for Davis, who has confessed to shooting dead two Pakistani men last month, allegedly in self-defence. (ANI)

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