Former Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) MNA Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on Tuesday that he resigned as foreign minister after refusing to bow down to pressure over giving diplomatic immunity to Raymond Davis.
Talking to reporters at the Multan airport on Tuesday, Qureshi said that the Raymond Davis incident had taken place on January 27 and he had resigned on January 30.
He further said he did not step down because he wasn’t given the foreign ministry, adding that he refused to give immunity to the CIA contractor because ‘he was not an ambassador’.
“[The Davis incident] is in front of the whole nation. I was being greatly pressurised to give him immunity and I refused to do it,” said the former PPP stalwart.
Qureshi, on Tuesday, elaborated that, at the time he arranged an inter-ministerial meeting in the foreign ministry, “everyone at that time believed that Davis could not be given immunity”.
On January 27, Raymond Davis opened fire at two Pakistani men at a traffic signal in Lahore – killing them on the spot. He was held by the police, soon after which the US embassy announced that he was their employee.
Davis was released by a sessions court after 48 days in detention and after paying ‘blood money’ to the legal heirs of the deceased. He left the country on March 16.
‘President, PM have no solutions’
The former foreign minister lashed out at the PPP leadership, saying that neither President Asif Ali Zardari nor Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani had the solutions to Pakistan’s external and internal problems.
Stating that elections are the best way to deal with the country’s situation right now, he urged the people to “come out on the streets because the government is not going to solve their problems”.
Qureshi further said that all those who are opposing him are trying to make their position strong in the president house, adding that they are all but dreams as ‘Zardari league has no future’.
“People think they are smarter than Mohtarma Benazir; your political vision is not even equal to her shoes,” he said.
‘I will never support Army rule’
Responding to claims of his alleged association with Ziaul Haq, Qureshi said that those who are trying to associate him with Ziaul Haq’s rule are ‘completely wrong’. He clarified that his father was a governor during Zia’s rule, but he had no other affiliation with Haq.
He said that in an emotional outburst, some PPP leaders spoke about him and Haq, adding that “they should not forget that it was under a military dictator that Gilani had taken an oath as a minister”.
“I have never supported and will never support the army rule or any martial law in the country,” said the former minister.
The “people of Pakistan will decide my future as they have done in last 30 years,” Qureshi added. (ADDITIONAL INPUT BY NEWS DESK)
Published in The Express Tribune, November 16th, 2011.