Pak Govt freeing Davis may be “last straw that breaks camel’s back”: Hilaly

Friday, February 18, 2011

LAHORE - If the Pakistan Government hands over double murder-accused American official Raymond Davis to the United States without sufficiently preparing public opinion on this sensitive issue, it may face a major backlash, eventually leading to its downfall, retired Pakistan envoy Zafar Hilaly has said.

“It’s become such a huge [issue],” The Christian Science Monitor quoted Hilaly, as saying.

“There’s a feeling, not without reason, that it might be the last straw that breaks the camel’s back,” he added.

Davis was arrested last month for shooting two men on motorcycle from his car in a lower-middle class area of Lahore.

The incident sparked widespread protests and has played into the hands of conservative religious parties, with many Pakistanis believing Davis to be a US spy. The matter has dominated headlines, which have focused on the fact that Davis had surveillance equipment and an unlicensed semiautomatic weapon on him at the time of his arrest.

The Pakistan Government, wary of popular backlash in the country, has maintained that the court should be allowed to carry out its own process, while the US has insisted upon Davis’s return on the grounds on diplomatic immunity.

However, Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani candidly admitted this week that his government was “just caught between the devil and the deep sea” on Davis’ detention issue.

“We are facing difficult decisions. There is a political price. If we take it then the people do not support and if we don’t do it the world does not support,” Gilani told Ulema and Mashaikh, who had gathered at the National Seerat Conference from across the country.We are just caught between the devil and the deep sea. This needs wisdom. We will do whatever is in the interest of the country and the nation,” he added. (ANI)

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