The federal and provincial governments, and the intelligence agencies, had been working since February 21 to ensure Raymond Davis’ release through the Qisas and Diyat laws, The Express Tribune has learnt.
Three weeks ago, the Interior Ministry sought the particulars including the addresses of the family members of the men Davis shot so it could contact them and prepare their passports, sources said.
The Punjab government, meanwhile, used police and other officials to put pressure on the heirs of the deceased to accept payment of blood money in return for pardoning Davis, the sources said.
The sources said that PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif had assured US Senator John Kerry when he visited Pakistan in mid-February that even if the federal government did not produce documents in the Lahore High Court showing Davis to have diplomatic immunity, the Punjab government would help get the CIA contractor pardoned through the payment of Diyat.
The sources said that the federal and provincial governments and the country’s intelligence agencies all agreed on one thing: that Davis must be released via the courts through the payment of Diyat to minimise the public uproar at his release.
They said that they had made a secret agreement on February 21 to facilitate the release of Davis in this manner. Around this time, the US authorities also began preparing to fulfil the formalities regarding compensation and visas, the sources said.
Neighbours of the families say that their houses had been locked for the last two days and they had not been seen. Lawyer Asad Manzoor Butt, who represented them at the previous hearing, said he had been trying to contact them since March 14 but their phones were off.
When Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif was asked by a reporter in London yesterday about the provincial government allegedly kidnapping the family, Sharif denied this and told the reporter to ask the federal government.
Meanwhile, according to Daily Express, Davis travelled on a special US plane from Lahore airbase to Bagram and the Intelligence Bureau and police were not in the loop. He was flown out without an exit stamp on his passport.
The Allama Iqbal Airport’s radar system received a short message on Wednesday that a special aircraft would touch down at the PAF base. Airport officials were told nothing else.
Quoting sources, Daily Express said that under instructions from sensitive agencies, the Punjab chief secretary, home secretary, inspector general of police and inspector general of prisons crafted the exit plan on March 15.
The sources added that the families of Faizan and Faheem had been shifted to Islamabad via the Motorway. They would first be taken to Dubai since the issuance of US visas would take time.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 17th, 2011.