Pakistani tension over US 'diplomat' case

Jamaat-e-Islami accused US of exerting "unprincipled and unlawful" pressure on Pakistan.

Pakistani tension over US 'diplomat' case

An influential Pakistani Islamist party accused the United States on Tuesday of riding roughshod in the case of a US "diplomat" held over the killing of two Pakistanis and said it would hold protests if he is freed.

Some members of the Pakistani media, which has in the past accused U.S. aid workers of being spies, have also called for Davis to be put on trial in Pakistan.

Raymond Davis was arrested after shooting two Pakistanis in what he called "self defence" during an armed robbery attempt, but, what Lahore's police chief called "clear-cut murder".

The United States is piling pressure on Pakistan to release Davis, saying his arrest was a violation of international conventions, suggesting he has diplomatic immunity.

Pakistan says the matter will be decided by its courts.

The issue has become a lightning rod for anti-American sentiment in Pakistan while the United States maintains its invasion in Afghanistan.

"Unlawful pressure"

Jamaat-e-Islami, a religious and political party capable of organising large protests, accused the United States of exerting "unprincipled and unlawful" pressure on Pakistan.

"Why is America hell bent on trampling on Pakistani law and its judicial system? We will forcefully protest if he is released without a court order," Jamaat-e-Islami deputy chief Liaquat Baluch told Reuters.

"Of course he (Davis) should not be released. He has committed a crime and he should be punished. He doesn't have immunity," said Yahya Mujhaid, a spokesman for Jamaat-ud-Dawa.

"If he is released, we will register our protest but in a peaceful way. We will hold rallies. He should not be released. Not only us, the whole of Pakistan will protest against any such move."

Supporters of the men Davis shot dead in the city of Lahore on January 27 have already held protests and burned U.S. flags.

Davis has been detained on remand since the incident.

On Thursday, the United States is expected to present a petition to a Lahore court to certify that Davis has diplomatic immunity and should be released.

In addition to the two men shot and killed by Davis, a third man was killed when a vehicle from the U.S. consulate, apparently en route to rescue Davis, struck and killed a passer-by.

Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah said the provincial government sent the U.S. consulate four reminders that it should hand over the car and the driver who "crushed to death" the man, identified as Ibad-ur-Rehman.

"We did not have any positive response from them after which on Saturday we wrote a letter to the federal government and asked them to talk to the U.S. embassy and ask them to cooperate on the issue so that the investigation into the case can be completed," Sanaullah said.

Agencies

Last Mod: 15 Şubat 2011, 13:34
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