Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif on Monday insisted that if allegations about his or his government’s involvement in the release of Raymond Davis proved to be correct, he would not only resign, but also formally apologise to the nation.
He said that the provincial government had nothing to do with the release of the US national, contacting the victims’ families for payment of blood money or influencing the outcome of the court case in this regard.
He said that the Punjab government and PML-N had played no direct or indirect role in releasing Davis. He said that the provincial government had taken a firm stand in the court on this issue.
He reminded that after the Davis incident, he had unequivocally declared that the blood of all Pakistanis was as precious as that of the citizen of any other country.
He said that he was glad that enlightened people, intellectuals and journalists had rejected the negative propaganda churned out against him and his government regarding the Davis incident.
He said that what had happened in Lahore after the incident was unprecedented.
He said that has anyone dared to take action against an American involved in violating the law over the past 63 years in the country? Was an FIR or a case ever registered against any foreigner under Section 302? Has any American ever been kept in prison? Which of the government had the courage to initiate legal proceedings in any such matter? The chief minister said that the Punjab government registered a case against Raymond Davis on the same day and started legal proceedings.
He said that in spite of political pressure, Punjab government showed no flexibility. He said that the passport of Raymond Davis was still held by the Punjab government. He said that he wanted to make it clear that the provincial government’s prosecution team had fiercely resisted the release of the accused, adding that it had raised forceful objections during the hearing of the case.
He said that the team had also requested a two-day adjournment of the proceedings, but the court had rejected the request and ordered the release of the accused. He said that if needed, he would tell what President Zardari had said to the foreigners about him regarding Raymond Davis.
He said that he had to go to London to look after his elder brother and it is unfortunate that some elements had tried to gain political mileage out of this purely humanitarian problem, linking his departure to London with the Raymond Davis issue.
Also on Monday, lawyers representing the Punjab government said that the provincial government did not know the whereabouts of the families of Faizan Haider and Faheem Shamshad, the two men who were killed by US national Raymond Davis, and requested the Lahore High Court (LHC) to ask the federal government about their disappearance.
This was stated in a written reply submitted by the Punjab home secretary before the court of Justice Chaudhry Iftikhar Hussain hearing a habeas corpus petition, which calls for the recovery of the two families.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 29th, 2011.