Qureshi questions Pak govt`s handling of Davis case

The former foreign minister questioned govt`s handling of Raymond Davis case.

Last Updated: Feb 19, 2011, 15:27 PM IST

Islamabad: Former foreign minister Shah
Mahmood Qureshi has questioned the government`s handling of
the case of a US official arrested for gunning down two
Pakistanis and insisted that the American does not have
blanket immunity.

Referring to the Foreign Ministry`s assertion in the
Lahore High Court on Thursday that it needed three more weeks
to certify the diplomatic status of arrested US official
Raymond Davis, Qureshi told the media that the matter had been
conclusively decided earlier this month when he was still the
Foreign Minister.
Qureshi, who has repeatedly stated that Davis is not
entitled to blanket immunity, said: "I want to ask that if
this matter is to be resolved quickly and the Foreign
Ministry`s mind was very clear and I was given a briefing
(about Davis` status), then why did the ministry seek three
more weeks (from the court)? This is a big question mark."

He added: "I am absolutely shocked that the Foreign
Office has asked for more time to ascertain whether Raymond
Davis enjoys immunity or not. This is very, very unusual and
rather fishy. I examined the documents placed before me and in
my considered opinion, I agreed with the Foreign Office`s
stand (that Davis did not have blanket immunity).
I had taken this decision to the Prime Minister."
He said he had no desire to become part of the
proceedings in the High Court to establish Davis` status but
would tell the truth if the court calls him.

"I have no desire to be included in the proceedings,
but I know that a petition has been filed which says I should
be made party to the case. If I am made a party and if they
(the court) ask me, I will tell them the truth."
Qureshi contended that the Foreign Ministry had not
"mishandled" Davis` case as it had acted according to "the law
and the truth."

He said not presented any formula to resolve the
matter but believed that "some way should be found with
dignity and justice."

Don`t forget four innocent Pakistanis have been
killed. Who is answerable?" he said.

Davis was arrested in Lahore last month after he shot
and killed two armed men he said were trying to rob him. A
third Pakistani died when he was hit by a US consulate car
rushing to help Davis. The widow of one of the men killed by
Davis later committed suicide.

Reports have said the ruling Pakistan People`s Party
decided not to reallocate the foreign affairs portfolio to
Qureshi after he went against a move by the government to
grant immunity to Davis to resolve the row with the US over
the arrest of the official.

Qureshi was also not invited to a meeting of the
PPP`s top leaders chaired by President Asif Ali Zardari on
Thursday.

"I have not gone against the party`s policy. I have
represented the party`s views. I was not called to the meeting
of the (PPP’s) core committee. I should have been called," he
said. The Lahore High Court has adjourned till March 14 the
case related to Davis` diplomatic status.

PTI