Having just navigated the Egyptian crisis, for better or for worse, the Obama administration is currently involved in an imbroglio with Pakistan concerning the detention of Raymond Davis, an employee of a US-based security company working under a US government contract in Pakistan. Davis has been held prisoner since last month when he shot and killed 2 Pakistanis.
Both sides have adopted diametrically opposed positions. The United States has sought Davis’ freedom on the grounds of diplomatic immunity, but the Pakistanis claim that Davis does not enjoy such privileges.
The United States claims that Davis acted in self-defense, while the authorities in Punjab claimed that he murdered the deceased in cold blood and therefore will be put on trial for murder.
The United States has insisted that Davis, while imprisoned, be accorded relatively comfortable terms of imprisonment, while the Punjab government insists that he will be treated like any other prisoner with the possible exception of special security precautions to prevent his being harmed by other prisoners.
The dispute presumably led to the firing of former Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, who claims that the US was flagrantly demanding something it was not entitled to, since Davis is “not a diplomat and cannot be given blanket diplomatic immunity.”
As a sign of its irritation, the United States has canceled bilateral programs with Pakistan and called off a high-level trilateral meeting involving Pakistan, Afghanistan and the United States.
The Davis affair has become caught up in the vortex of opposing forces in Pakistan. The relatively liberal central government favored granting diplomatic immunity. However, Davis was arrested in Punjab, controlled by the more anti-American opposition.
We are possibly dealing with an intelligence operation, as the United States has been evasive about Davis’ specific role in Afghanistan, calling him a “member of the administrative and technical staff”. The 2 Pakistani dead reportedly worked for the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence controlled by the military. They have frequently been accused of playing a double game in terms of the Taliban in Afghanistan whom Pakistan initially supported as a potential strategic card against India.
A military source in Pakistan pushed back by warning the United States to back down on the issue, because it was forfeiting support across Pakistan and this would hamper the military’s ability to support US policies.
The families of the dead want “blood for blood” and will be satisfied only if Davis is hanged. Islamic elements in Pakistan are exploiting the affair, referring to the “American killer Raymond Davis” and citing a police report claiming that Davis committed intentional and cold-blooded murders. They are also hinting that Davis was responsible for directing drone attacks against Taliban fighters on the Pakistan Afghani border, as attacks have ceased since he was placed in detention.
However, the Islamists have floated the proposal that if the Americans release Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, who received her doctoral degree from Brandeis and then returned to Pakistan to help Al-Qaeda, they will acquiesce to a pardon for Davis.
At her trial, Siddiqui demanded that all prospective jurors be DNA-tested, and excluded from the jury at her trial if found to have Zionist or Israeli background: ” … they are all mad at me … I have a feeling everyone here is them—subject to genetic testing. They should be excluded, if you want to be fair,” she said. Upon her conviction in February of this year, she burst out “This is a verdict coming from Israel, not America.”
Source material can be found at this site.