ISLAMABAD: In an interesting twist to the Lahore double murder involving a US ‘diplomatic official’, prosecutors have recommended that an espionage case be also registered against him, sources said on Tuesday.
Raymond Davis is already facing charges for killing two Pakistani motorcyclists in a busy marketplace of Lahore on January 27.
“Keeping in view the nature of the case it is strongly recommended that a case of espionage be registered against Davis,” the prosecution branch of the Punjab police has written in an official letter to the investigation branch.
“During the course of investigation, police retrieved photographs of some sensitive areas and defence installations from Davis’ camera,” a source told The Express Tribune requesting anonymity. “Photos of the strategic Balahisar Fort, the headquarters of the paramilitary Frontier Corps in Peshawar and of Pakistan Army’s bunkers on the Eastern border with India were found in the camera,” the source added.
The police had recovered a digital camera, a Glock pistol and a phone tracker along with a charger from Davis after his arrest. The Punjab government considers Davis a security risk after the recovery of the photos of sensitive installations, said the source.
The Obama administration has been pressuring Pakistan to release Davis who, according to it, “is a member of the administrative and technical staff of the mission” and therefore enjoys diplomatic immunity under the Vienna Convention.
“But Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has told American diplomats that the matter is sub judice and only the Lahore High Court (LHC) would decide whether or not Davis was entitled to diplomatic immunity,” an official source told The Express Tribune.
Sharif made the statement at a recent meeting with the US diplomats who sought Davis’ immediate release.
Citing a letter written by Interior Minister Rehman Malik to the Punjab government, the diplomats said that Davis had diplomatic immunity.
Sharif, however, denied his government had received any letter from the interior minister, according to the sources. Sharif advised the diplomats to wait for the LHC ruling on the diplomatic status of Davis.
A security official told The Express Tribune that Davis’ name did not figure on a list of US diplomats presented by the American embassy to the ministry of foreign affairs on Jan 25. But interestingly, his name figured prominently on another list submitted by the embassy to the ministry on Jan 28.
Diplomatic source told The Express Tribune that the foreign ministry’s viewpoint would be presented before the LHC whenever asked by the court.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 9th, 2011.