Govt lawyer summoned for March 14 in Davis case

Published: February 22, 2011
Supporters of Jamaat-i-Islami scuffle with police blocking them from reaching the US consulate in Lahore February 18, 2011. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

Supporters of Jamaat-i-Islami scuffle with police blocking them from reaching the US consulate in Lahore February 18, 2011. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court summoned a deputy attorney general for March 14 to assist the court on a petition asking the LHC to direct the government not to remove Raymond Davis from Lahore nor “fraudulently” grant him immunity.

Also on Monday, a lawyer filed a petition in the LHC challenging the validity of diplomatic immunity, while another filed a petition in a lower court for the police to register a case against Raymond Davis for lying about his identity.

In the first case, Barrister Jawaid Iqbal Jafree, the petitioner, asked the chief justice not to allow the government to issue a backdated or forged immunity letter for Davis, and to summon certified copies of all relevant documents.

Citing US media reports, he said that the two Americans in the car that was sent to rescue Davis, and allegedly ran over and killed a bystander in the process, had returned to their country. He sought a record of all US citizens who had left Pakistan during the last month so he could identify the two Americans. He said even if the families of the men whom Davis had allegedly killed were ready to accept compensation, he should still be tried for disturbing the peace as a terrorism charge.

Jafree also sought extra security since he was under threat for filing the petition.

Scrap immunity

Chief Justice Chaudhry also sought a reply from the federal government by March 14 to a petition challenging the Diplomatic and Consular Privileges Act of 1972, under which immunity is granted to diplomats in line with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, 1961 and Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, 1963.

Advocate Muhammad Azhar Siddique, the petitioner, argued that both conventions conflicted with the fundamental rights envisaged in Article 8 of the Constitution.

He asked the court to summon former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Fouzia Wahab, who gave contradictory statements regarding Davis’s eligibility for immunity. The court turned down his plea, saying they would be summoned if required.

He said the American ambassador had declared that the person arrested by the Punjab Police was not named Raymond Davis. He said a “fake person” had no right to claim diplomatic immunity under any other law. He said a case of criminal forgery should also be registered against him.

He said Davis should not be released or handed over to the American government until the courts decide whether he has immunity. He asked the court to order that Davis be tried for the murder of two Pakistanis in Pakistan.

He alleged that Foreign Office documents were being transferred to the Interior Ministry with the intent of tampering with the Davis record. He asked the court to send the record back and order that copies be submitted in the court. He also sought a judicial inquiry into the alleged manipulation of the record.

Meanwhile, additional district and sessions judge Husnain Qadir Ghillon summoned the Lytton Road SHO for February 24 in a petition seeking the registration of a case under Section 416 of the Pakistan Penal Code against Davis for “cheating by impersonation”. Advocate Sheikh Sajjad Hussain said that Davis had pretended to be the US ambassador when he was arrested.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 22nd, 2011.

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