Supplementing a statement the US embassy released three days after the incident, Interior Minister Rehman Malik told members of the Senate on Wednesday that Davis does hold a diplomatic passport and visa.
“Raymond Davis holds a diplomatic passport … he travelled to Pakistan on a diplomatic visa given [to him] after clearance by security agencies of the country. Pakistan is a signatory of certain international protocols (on diplomatic immunity), which we cannot violate,” Malik said. He also claimed that he personally holds Davis’ file, which contains all his records.
However, he said, following the court’s instruction, Davis’ name had been added to the Exit Control List (ECL) and he cannot leave Pakistan. Reiterating the Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) stance, he said that Davis will be treated in accordance with the law of the land and courts will decide his fate.
He said that central and provincial governments will not hinder court proceedings. “We will follow whatever the court has said and will provide all information regarding the case,” Malik said.
However, he said open debate on such a sensitive issue will be inappropriate as it might influence the Punjab police’s investigations. He said findings will be shared with the house as an investigation report comes from Punjab.
Witness statements recorded
Meanwhile, following orders of the Lahore High Court (LHC), the city police recorded the statements of all four witnesses in the double murder case.
LHC Chief Justice Ijaz Ahmad Chaudhry had passed the order while disposing of a writ petition challenging investigations against Davis and accusing police of favouring the accused and not recording statements of witnesses, a mandatory requirement under section 161 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).
Imran Haider, brother of Faizan Haider who was gunned down by Davis, has filed the petition. He said that after registering a FIR on his complaint, the police did not record his statement or those of other witnesses “to favour the accused”.
Haider had also submitted that the case requires a high-profile investigation team, comprising upright and reputable police officers.
The deceased’ family members held a press conference and announced that they will hold a protest rally that will begin from the scene of the incident and culminate at the US consulate in Lahore.
In a related case, Justice Chaudhry directed a petitioner to approach the relevant district and sessions court that will hold Davis’ trial for a request to insert provisions from the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) in the FIR registered against Davis. The petition was then disposed of.
Petitioner Advocate Rana Ilamudin Ghazi had sought an order that police insert provisions from the ATA and that Davis must be tried by a special anti-terrorism court.
Meanwhile, a petition filed before the LHC sought directives to the federal interior and foreign secretaries to disclose the nature of Davis’ visa and information about all foreigners operating in Punjab.
Petitioner Advocate Noshab A Khan prayed to the court to direct both the federal secretaries to supply all necessary information to the Punjab interior secretary about foreigners in the province, their whereabouts, movements and the nature of their duties.
Arrest put on record
Lytton Road police has put Davis’ arrest on record in the second FIR registered against him under charges of carrying an illegal pistol, police sources said.
The police registered a second FIR against him on January 29 but did not put his arrest on record. An investigation officer also said that his arrest was delayed for different reasons. “Firstly, his remand in the murder case lapses today, when he is due to appear before the court. We wanted him to appear before both the courts in one visit, owing to security reasons. Secondly, we were waiting for proof of legality of the weapon, which the US consulate hasn’t provided,” he said.
According to investigators, there is proof that Davis did not reside in the American consulate but in a rented building in Lahore Cantonment, with some other foreigners.
Meanwhile, Carmela Conroy, principal officer of the US consulate in Lahore, and her delegation met Davis in police custody.
The investigation team met Lahore Police Chief Aslam Tareen and discussed possibilities to identify the vehicle that reached to rescue Davis but fled after crushing a man.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 3rd, 2011.