The 2,000-member strong Pakistan Ex-Servicemen Association (PESA) is joining political parties, religious groups and security officials by diving headfirst into the chatter over the Raymond Davis issue. It plans to stage a protest in Islamabad on March 23 to raise awareness about “issues of national interest”, including the case of Raymond Davis.
In what appears to be yet another move to dictate the public discourse about Davis – the alleged Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employee on trial in Pakistan for killing two men – ex-servicemen now plan to start a ‘movement’ that will focus on “Pakistan asserting its sovereignty and issues of national interest.”
The demands laid out in an e-mail sent to PESA’s members call for the use of interrogation techniques such as waterboarding.
The e-mail says: “Raymond Davis is seen as a saboteur operating as a mercenary for the destabilisation of Pakistan, under the protection of the US government. He has been creating and executing threats to the security of our citizens and homeland. He must be fully interrogated using all methods (including water-boarding) that are used by the US against those who act against the security of the US. His network and methods must be followed and eliminated. Probability of other mercenaries/CIA operated networks must be investigated through him.”
According to a 2004 CIA report, 9/11 suspect Khalid Shaikh Mohammad was waterboarded 183 times. The report defined the technique: “The application of the waterboard technique involves binding a detainee to a bench with his feet elevated over his head. The detainee’s head is immobilised and an interrogator places a cloth over the detainee’s mouth and nose while pouring water onto the cloth in a controlled manner. Airflow is restricted for 20 to 40 seconds and the technique produces the sensation of drowning and suffocation.”
PESA member Brigadier (retired) Mian Mahmud said, “Raymond Davis is just one issue. It is about Pakistan asserting its sovereignty in these matters of national interest. We are trying to show the whole picture.”
Columnist and ex-army officer Kamran Shafi said he had not seen the letter but called the notion “complete and utter nonsense”.
“How does Raymond Davis, who is here on a valid diplomatic passport, fall into the same category as some al Qaeda chap found in Afghanistan or Somalia, the ‘enemy combatants’ as the US calls them?” he questioned. “If there were five CIA employees living in a house in Lahore, how did the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) not know about them? Does butter melt in the mouth of the ISI?”
When asked why ex-servicemen were leading the protest, Mahmud said, “These ex-servicemen do have experience and can analyse these situations in a better way.”
Mahmud said the steering committee created for this protest is a “cross-section of civil society” and includes members of Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf.
Shafi believes the association should first “protest against their own service headquarters over their problems – such as the National Logistics Cell issue which General Kayani said he would look into and nothing has happened on that – and then deal with the civilian government.”
Published in The Express Tribune, March 15th, 2011.