Islamabad: After weeks of tense standoff,
the US and Pakistan may be nearing an arrangement to repatriate US official Raymond Davis with the government expected to concede in court that the American qualifies for diplomatic immunity under the Vienna Convention.
The government`s counsel is expected to testify on
Davis`s diplomatic status when the Lahore High Court
The government`s position, though not publicly
disclosed, was finalised at a high-level meeting convened to
devise a strategy on the Davis case, in view of the visit of
US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry who
is in Pakistan as a special envoy of the Obama administration.
"The Lahore High Court will be informed that the US
Embassy`s notification of January 20 in respect of Raymond
Davis, intimating his appointment as a member of the
administrative and technical staff, made him eligible for
immunity under the Vienna Convention," an unnamed official was
quoted as saying by the Dawn newspaper.
Speculation that the US and Pakistan may be close to
an arrangement on Davis gained ground after Senator Kerry
announced at a news conference in Lahore late last night that the US Department of Justice will conduct a criminal investigation into the incident in which Davis shot and killed two men despite his diplomatic immunity.
"Our Department of Justice will conduct its own thorough criminal investigation regardless of the immunity. We
still believe the immunity applies but that doesn`t mean we
don?t have the right under our law or the capacity to go
through our own process," Kerry said.
The government is also expected to inform the High
Court that Pakistan`s laws and the Foreign Ministry`s
regulations required Davis to be registered with authorities
as a diplomat, but this could not be done because of certain unresolved queries, the official told the Dawn.
The court will also be told that the system of
accreditation being followed in Pakistan is not in accordance
with international law or prevalent in many countries,
including the US, the official said.
The matter will then be left for the court to
interpret, the official added.
Lahore High Court Chief Justice Ijaz Chaudhry had
observed on February 1 that the court will decide "whether
(Davis) has or does not have immunity".