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Pakistan ex-FM says U.S. shooter has no diplomatic immunity

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Islamabad, Feb 17, IRNA -- Pakistan’s former foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi Wednesday disclosed that US Emabssy employee who is facing double murder charges in Pakistan is not entitled to full diplomatic immunity as is being demanded by US authorities.

The US insists that Raymond Allen Davis, who shot dead two Pakistanis in Lahore last month, must be freed as he enjoys diplomatic immunity.

Qureshi disputed the US claim and said that top officers at the Foreign Ministry had briefed him on January 31 that the US accused does not enjoy complete diplomatic immunity.

He told a news conference in Islamabad after meeting the visiting Chairman of US Senate Foreign Relations John Kerry that he was told to ‘keep mum over’ the issue of the American killer citizen.

“But I had categorically told the Foreign Ministry to follow the international and Pakistani law while dealing the case,” Qureshi said.

He also said that he had told the government leaders about the Foreign Office briefing about the status of the US employee, adding that the leadership had argued that let the court decides the issue of diplomatic immunity.

Qureshi also said that Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani also said in the National Assembly on February 3rd that the court will decide fate of the American suspect.

The former Pakistani Foreign Minister said he did not accept any pressure on the issue and said he will also give information about the case if summoned by the court.

Pakistani media has reported that the Foreign Ministry has now said in a communication to the Law Ministry that the US accused enjoys diplomatic immunity.

But the Spokesperson of the Foreign Ministry Wednesday contradicted media reports about any pronouncement, public or official, made by the Foreign Ministry relating to the question of immunity of Raymond Davis.

“Speculation in this regard is unfounded,” a brief Foreign Ministry said.

Qureshi’s comments coincided with the visit of US Senate Foreign Relations Chairman John Kerry, who opened talks in Islamabad to seek release of Raymond Davis.

The issue has pushed Pakistan and the US to a deep diplomatic row and the US has suspended high level talks with Pakistan and several US Congressmen threatened to stop aid to its ally.

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