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US suspends bilateral engagements with Pakistan

American diplomat Raymond Davis is under detention in Pakistan on possible murder charges.



Washington: The US has suspended all high-
level dialogue with Pakistan to put pressure on Islamabad to release the American diplomat detained on possible murder charges, as the ties between the two countries have become
severely strained over the issue.

The case of Raymond Allen Davis, who fatally shot two
Pakistanis who threatened him from a motorcycle, has severely
strained the ties between the two governments and may scuttle
a proposed tri-nation summit between US, Afghan and Pakistani
leaders scheduled to be held here on February 24, The
Washington Post reported.

To convey its concern and displeasure at the treatment
of the diplomat, the paper said, Secretary of State Hillary
Clinton cancelled a meeting last weekend with Pakistani
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi at an international
security conference in Munich.

The US administration has twice summoned Pakistani
envoy here Hussain Haqqani to the White House to stress on
Davis` diplomatic immunity and demand his immediate release.
The message was repeated by US Ambassador in Islamabad Cameron
Hunter in his meeting with President Asif Ali Zardari.

The State Department has said that Davis, 36, holds a
diplomatic passport and is a member of "technical and
administrative staff" at the US Embassy in Islamabad "entitled
to full criminal immunity in accordance with the Vienna
Convection".

The US Congress has said that the Pakistan government
should resolve the issue at the earliest or it could impact
other bilateral initiatives including a whopping American aid
which is bankrolling cash-starved Pakistan.
Davis was arrested in Lahore last month and produced
before the local High Court which has extended his detention
for another eight days. The US embassy said it was given no
notice of the hearing and that David had no attorney present
and he was not even provided with an interpreter.

"He was denied due process and a fair hearing," a
State Department statement said, claiming "his continued
detention is a gross violation of the international law."
Quoting Pakistani officials, the Post said Islamabad
was divided over the case while the Foreign Ministry was
pushing Davis` diplomatic immunity, other parts of the
government, which were not named, were using the issue to
prove independence from Washington.

A new twist had been given to the case, the Post said,
by a Pakistani intelligence official claiming that the two men
Davis killed were not, as he had said, armed robbers intent on
stealing money but were intelligence agents assigned to trail
him.

The official said the agents intended to frighten Davis because he crossed a "red line" that the official did not further define.

Bureau Report

From Zee News

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