ISLAMABAD: The government has barred three more Americans from travelling outside Pakistan on allegations that they were in the vehicle that crushed a man to death in Lahore immediately after Raymond Davis, a detained US citizen, was involved in a shootout that killed two other men.
The Punjab government has asked the federal government’s assistance in securing the custody of the three American men who are accused of trampling a motorcyclist to death while they drove to try and rescue Raymond Davis, who is accused of killing two men in Lahore.
“The interior ministry has placed the name of the three Americans, including the driver of the US consulate in Lahore, on the exit control list,” said one federal interior ministry official, speaking on the condition of anonymity. Putting a name on the exit control list (ECL) legally empowers the government to prevent that person from leaving the country. Raymond Davis is currently in the custody of the Punjab police in Lahore and awaiting trial for murder.
“We have sought access to get custody of these accused because they are wanted by the Punjab police in connection to the Raymond Davis case,” said Special Assistant to Chief Minister Punjab Senator Pervez Rashid. He added that the preliminary investigation report has been sent to the federal government.
The federal interior ministry, through the Foreign Office, has also written to the US consulate asking for the three accused Americans to be handed over to the Punjab police, said the interior ministry official. He declined to name the three individuals, however, saying that it might compromise the investigation.
Meanwhile, the US embassy in Pakistan said that they were not aware of these developments.
“We have not received any such information on the issue as yet,” said Courtney Beale, acting spokesperson of the US embassy in Islamabad.
Both the United States and Pakistan governments are handling the situation with some caution, given the popular reaction against Raymond Davis. While the US government claims that Davis has diplomatic immunity, the court in Lahore has yet to adjudicate on the matter.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 7th, 2011.