Islamabad: Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rehman Malik and the Saudi Ambassador to Islamabad, Abdul Aziz bin Ibrahim al Ghadeer, have reportedly discussed options to pave way for the release of double murder-accused US official Raymond Davis.
CIA contractor Davis was arrested by police after shooting dead 22-year-old Faizan Haider and 26-year-old Faheem Shamshad on January 27 in Lahore, allegedly in self-defence. A third Pakistani citizen- Ibaad-ur-Rehman – was also killed after a US Embassy employee run his car over him while rushing to assist Davis.
Malik’s meeting with Abdul Aziz on Wednesday raised a question about the likely role of Saudi Arabia in the release of Davis- a possibility that was also hinted at by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani during a meeting with senior journalists in Lahore.
The Saudi envoy offered to facilitate Umrah for the bereaved families of the two men killed by Davis; The Nation quoted informed insiders privy to this development, as saying.
Malik and Abdul Aziz also discussed the possibility regarding the payment of heavy compensation to the families of Faheem, Faizan and Ibaad-ur-Rehman, in order to give Davis a safe passage, the paper said.
When insistently asked for tentative details about the reported offer made by the Saudi Ambassador during the meeting, a senior Saudi official neither confirmed nor denied this information, saying: “There are certain things that can’t be commented on, not even tentatively.”
On being asked if it meant that the information was credible, the Saudi official laughed and said, “Have it your way. I have given a statement, it’s up to you to interpret unless you don’t name me in your story.”
However, Malik denied that Abdul Aziz had put any such offer before him in the meeting, saying: “No sir, it is wrong,”
According to sources, after the US Embassy and Pakistan’s Interior Ministry failed to lure the victim’s families with hefty compensations, including US nationalities, millions of dollars and other ‘rewards’, both the US and Pakistan are seeking Saudi Arabia’s help on the grounds that the Muslim country could attract sympathetic consideration of the bereaved families using the religion card and ‘soften’ their principled stance.