Double murder-accused US official ‘not immune from criminal prosecution’: Qureshi

Thursday, February 24, 2011

RAWALPINDI - Double-murder accused US official Raymond Davis is not immune from criminal prosecution as per Pakistan’s Foreign Office record, former foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has said.

Addressing the Rawalpindi District Bar Association members, Qureshi added that keeping in view the sensitivity of the case, the matter would be decided by the court.

He reiterated that the US Ambassador in Pakistan had threatened to cancel Qureshi’s scheduled meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Germany if Davis was not given diplomatic immunity. However, his opinion could not be changed because according to him, Davis did not deserve this immunity, the former minister added.

As per Vienna Conventions of 1961 and 1963 and Pakistan’s Diplomatic Law of 1972, it was crystal clear that “the blanket immunity as being demanded by the US embassy was not valid,” the Daily Times quoted Qureshi, as saying.

After reviewing all the documents related to Davis, the former Foreign Minister said he came to the conclusion that Davis did not enjoy diplomatic immunity, and he conveyed this clearly to the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) core committee when he was asked to give his opinion regarding the issue. “An inter-ministerial meeting had also endorsed this point of view,” he added.

Qureshi said his stance on the Davis issue was principled, and that he would stand by his position.

He maintained that nothing was more important than Pakistan’s sovereignty and dignity, and said that he “will openly reveal facts to the public about the Davis issue so that they could get a clearer picture of the issue”.

Talking about the independence of judiciary, Qureshi said the whole nation was united on this matter, and Pakistani people had been rendering numerous sacrifices for the cause.

“A free judiciary will help bring foreign investment that will create more job opportunities and people will be accountable to an authority for a fair and just use of resources,” he added. (ANI)

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