Personal motives might be behind Raymond Davis’s release: Kh Asif

ISLAMABAD (NNI): Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif on Friday cleared that he would stand with parliament if it wants to probe Raymond Davis case.

While responding to Calling Attention Notice and adjournment motion in the Senate, Asif termed release of Davis against national interests. “I don’t think any institution had played role in his (Davis) release” he said, “Some individuals with international commitments may have played their part to strengthened their positions”.

Startlingly, Asif revealed that blood money settled between victims’ heirs and US government was paid by Pakistani government. Asif stressed that inquiry into the matter should be launched to fortify country’s security rather just scoring political points.

“The matter should not be highlighted for point-scoring only; [as] it won’t be constructive rather than in-camera grilling sessions or public investigation on the issue,” he emphasized. Asif opined that decision makers in their respective personal capacities and institutions should also be made part of the investigation for assisting an American national to flee from Pakistan after murdering two local citizens.

Asif spoke on the matter when Hafiz Hamdullah and Azam Swati presented a notice in the session to discuss the revelations in Davis’ recent book.

On January 27, 2011, Davis was arrested for murder of two men, Faizan and Faheem, near Mozang Chowk in Lahore. A case was registered at the Lytton Police Station after he was chased by the Police. Davis said that he acted in self-defence and the men shot were robbers who had been arrested more than fifty times on various charges and were carrying stolen mobile phones and unlicensed guns.

This created a diplomatic standoff as the US pressed for diplomatic immunity for Davis. The matter was settled after Davis was pardoned for blood money worth $2.4mn which is the largest in the history of Pakistan.

Davis was released on March 16, 2011 and quickly flown out of Pakistan after the heirs of the two men he had shot dead told the Lahore High Court they had accepted monetary compensation to settle the case.

Davis revealed that he later found out that the plan to secure his release had been hatched several weeks before. He disclosed the names of the top government and state institutions’ officials playing pivotal role his getting released from the Lahore prison.

Davis, in his book, had mentioned the relations between the intelligence agencies of the two countries were already distraught after Leon Panetta was surprisingly appointed as Director of CIA and the incident further escalated the tensions. Davis claimed that his book had been approved by the CIA after major redaction, which delayed it by more than a year. He said the top US military leadership had a secret meeting in Muscat, Oman to secure his release.

Raymond Davis was released after forty-nine days. The incident led to widespread protests in Pakistan demanding action against Davis. Almost a month after the incident, US officials revealed Davis was a contractor of the CIA.