American booked for murder after shooting incident in Lahore

A US consular employee booked for murder after he shot and killed two men who were apparently trying to rob him will be prosecuted according to Pakistani laws, a provincial minister said.

Updated: Jan 28, 2011, 23:59 PM IST

Lahore: A US consular employee booked for
murder after he shot and killed two men who were apparently
trying to rob him will be prosecuted according to Pakistani
laws, a provincial minister said on Friday.

Rana Sanaullah, the Law Minister of Punjab province,
said the US national identified in media reports as Raymond
Davis had been arrested under Section 302 of the Pakistan
Penal Code which relates to murder.

A First Information Report was registered against the
American following a complaint from the brother of one of the
dead men.

"Action will be taken against the US national
according to Pakistani laws. The Punjab government will ensure
that the foreigner will be prosecuted according to the law of
the land and no pressure will be accepted in this regard,"
Sanaullah told a news conference.

The American was presented in the court of Judge Zafar
Iqbal, who remanded him to police custody for six days.

Strict security arrangements were put in place at the
court for the hearing this afternoon.

The US consular employee shot and killed two
motorcycle-borne men who pulled up alongside his car at a
traffic light and apparently tried to rob him in the Mozang
area of Lahore yesterday.

A third man died in a road accident involving a
speeding US car that was coming to aid the American.

Senior police officer Umar Saeed said the American had
told police he had withdrawn money from an ATM shortly before
the incident, raising the possibility the two men were
following him.

Others police officers said the men were possibly
robbers and were carrying pistols.

Sanaullah too confirmed that the two men shot dead by
the American were armed.

He said the relatives of one of the dead men had
produced a licence for the pistols.

Though all persons have the right to self-defence, an
investigation is being conducted to determine whether the
American had opened fire after facing a threat to his life, he
said.

A separate case had been registered against the
American as he had been unable to produce a licence for the
weapons used by him, Sanaullah said.

The probe into the incident will be completed in 14
days and a `challan` presented in court, he added.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani condemned the
incident and said the government was awaiting the outcome of
the investigation. Interior Minister Rehman Malik said in parliament no
foreigner was allowed to carry weapons in Pakistan and the
incident was being handled according to Pakistani laws.

A brief statement issued by the US embassy said a
"staff member of the US Consulate General in Lahore was
involved in an incident yesterday that regrettably resulted in
the loss of life".

It added: "The US embassy is working with Pakistani
authorities to determine the facts and work toward a
resolution".

US officials also said the name of the American given
in media reports was incorrect.

The issue of US diplomats or their security detail
carrying weapons in Pakistan had emerged as an irritant
between the two countries last year.

Analysts believe yesterday`s incident could fuel
anti-US sentiments in Pakistan.

The incident was reported on the front pages of all
newspapers, with the headline in The Nation, known for its
anti-US stance, reading: "`American Rambo` goes berserk in
Lahore".

An editorial in The Express Tribune said it was
reasonable for Western diplomats to travel armed but noted
that in America shooting in self-defense can result in a
conviction, especially if it can be proved that the accused
used excessive force.

PTI