The widow of one of the men gunned down by CIA contractor Raymond Davis is living in this city with her family in a house rented out by the US Consulate, The Express Tribune has learnt.
Zahra, widow of Faizan Haider, her parents, brother and five sisters recently left the house for a week, but moved back in for security reasons after the media found the family of Faheem Shamshad, the second Davis victim, in Faisalabad, a close relative of Zahra’s family told The Express Tribune.
The families of Faizan and Faheem have been in hiding – they were initially reported by the media to have been whisked away abroad since they agreed to pardon Davis in a diyat settlement on March 16. Of the total Rs200 million payment, Zahra received Rs25 million.
Zahra’s relative said that US Consulate officials had asked the family to leave the rented house, where they had been staying since March 15, just over a week ago, thinking that the anger over Davis’ release had subsided.
During this week, they visited relatives in Lahore and Jhelum, but not their own house near Ferozewala police station, he said. The police personnel deployed at that house since March 16 were removed three days ago.
The relative, who represented Zahra in talks over the deal with consulate representatives, said that the Rs25 million Faizan’s widow received was lying in a bank locker because she did not have an account. He said her father, who had been working in Dubai, had come back after the settlement and had received Zahra’s share of the blood money.
He said so far the best rate offered by a bank was a Rs83,000 per month return on a deposit of Rs10 million. “They are thinking about it but might not deposit it in the bank as it is un-Islamic,” he said.
He lamented that the details of the settlement had been made public and blamed US authorities for this, saying that “representatives of the accused” had assured them that the deal would remain confidential. “Now it is the talk of the town and everyone knows the A to Z of the deal,” he said.
He said the money was also a burden as the family feared being targeted by extortionists and extremists. “We are not worried about the public in general, just about criminals,” he said, adding that there had been a “Taliban warning” in the newspaper as well.
He said none of the families involved in the diyat settlement had left the country. The families of Zahra, Faizan and Faheem are all still in Pakistan and are living under the supervision of authorities, he said.
He said he did not know who had acted as emissary between the victims and the accused in the Davis case. Men claiming to represent the accused first contacted Imran, Faizan’s brother, who then got in touch with Zahra’s family and Faheem’s family. He did not know if any Pakistani officials were involved in the deal.
He said Zahra’s family had received menacing anonymous phone calls advising them to accept the deal for the benefit of Pakistan. He said the callers would tell them that their survival was in Pakistan’s survival and so they should cooperate. He said he had been offered Rs2.5 million through an acquaintance, but he refused the offer. Future settlement offers then came through Imran, he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 4th, 2011.