The confusion over the Raymond Davis affair continues. The divergent statements coming from various PPP members add to this — especially when combined with the fact that the matter is before a court. It has also, apparently, cost former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi his job. The lack of agreement over whether or not Davis has diplomatic immunity and whether all the technical requirements in this respect had been fulfilled, has lingered on since the consulate employee shot dead two young men in the crowded Mozang area of Lahore late last month. PPP Information Secretary Fauzia Wahab’s most recent statement — maintaining that Davis is indeed protected by immunity and cannot be prosecuted — simply adds to the chaos. The law minister immediately said that Ms Wahab was making a ‘personal’ comment and the courts would decide the matter, while the same line has been taken by the Foreign Office in talks with the US ambassador in Islamabad.
Some two weeks after the incident, we still do not know exactly who Raymond Davis is; neither do we know exactly what happened at Mozang and, of course, we can only guess what will happen in the future. Ms Wahab’s comments, however, imply that her party may be considering giving in to mounting US pressure, even if this comes at the cost of our sovereignty. Islamabad has, after all, lost large portions of this already — as a result of drone attacks and other acts that assert Washington’s supremacy over us. The fact is that Mr Davis shot dead two people in broad daylight. It is odd we still know only little about who these men were and why they were carrying a gun. The third victim, run over by a consulate vehicle, appears to have been forgotten almost entirely.
The rule of law needs to be adhered to in the Davis case. But the mysteries that surround the affair need also to be solved. They go well beyond the issue of diplomatic immunity and raise key questions about what exactly is happening on our soil and for what reasons.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 16th, 2011.