US Ambassador to Pakistan Cameron P. Munter reiterated demands that the Pakistani government immediately release Raymond Davis, an employee from the Lahore consulate who is facing murder charges for killing two Pakistanis on the streets of the city.
Davis’ case has been a serious issue amongst the Pakistani public, which seems eager to vent frustrations against what they see as untoward US influence on Davis, who maintains he was actng in self defense in the killings.
US officials have been demanding Davis’ release virtually from the start, claiming that he has “diplomatic immunity” and that Pakistan was violating the Vienna Convention. The claim was rejected and indeed Pakistan’s interpretation appears to be in keeping with long-standing US positions, that consular employees only enjoy immunity for crimes committed as part of their duties.
The expectation has been that the Zardari government would eventually cave to the US demands when the story got out of the headlines domestically, but this may never happen after the widow of one of the slain committed suicide, insisting she believed that the Pakistani government would not grant her justice over the killings. This will likely ensure that the story remains in the Pakistani consciousness too long to be swept under the rug.
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