The United States on Friday denied that it threatened to sever diplomatic ties with Pakistan if its citizen Raymond Davis, involved in the killing of two Pakistanis last month in Lahore, was not released.
A report by ABC News claimed that President Obama’s National Security Adviser Thomas Donilon summoned Ambassador Hussain Haqqani to the White House last Monday, and warned him about the consequences of not releasing the detained US official.
According to the report, Donilon told Haqqani that the US will expel him from Washington, close its consulates in Pakistan, and cancel an upcoming visit by President Zardari to Washington if Davis is not released by Friday.
However, a statement issued by the US embassy in Pakistan denied the report, though it did confirm that a ‘private diplomatic meeting’ took place between Haqqani and Donilon.
“Although we are unable to discuss the substance of a private diplomatic meeting, the US embassy, Islamabad, can state categorically that the description of the conversation in this report is simply inaccurate,” said a brief statement issued by the embassy’s acting spokesperson Courtney Beale.
Ambassador Haqqani, via a Twitter post, also contradicted the news item that any “US official, including the NSA, has conveyed any personal threats to me or spoken of extreme measures.”
Meanwhile Reuters reported the controversy has placed a trilateral meeting scheduled this month between Pakistani, Afghan and US officials in Washington in jeopardy.
While the Afghan embassy in Washington and the US State Department said preparations for the gathering are underway, a Pakistani diplomatic source said no decision had been made whether the meeting would go ahead or not. One Afghan minister also said his plans to travel to the US for the meeting were now in doubt.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 12th, 2011.