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Pak likely to release Raymond Davis: report

News18test sharma |

Updated: February 16, 2011, 1:37 PM IST
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Pak likely to release Raymond Davis: report
Pakistan govt is expected to concede in court that Davis qualifies for diplomatic immunity.

Islamabad: After weeks of tense standoff, the US and Pakistan may be nearing an arrangement to repatriate US official Raymond Davis with the government expected to concede in court that the American qualifies for
diplomatic immunity under the Vienna Convention.

The government's counsel is expected to testify on Davis's diplomatic status when the Lahore High Court reconvenes on Thursday.

The government's position, though not publicly disclosed, was finalised at a high-level meeting convened to devise a strategy on the Davis case, in view of the visit of US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry who
is in Pakistan as a special envoy of the Obama administration.

"The Lahore High Court will be informed that the US Embassy's notification of January 20 in respect of Raymond Davis, intimating his appointment as a member of the administrative and technical staff, made him eligible for immunity under the Vienna Convention," an unnamed official was quoted as saying by the Dawn newspaper.

Speculation that the US and Pakistan may be close to an arrangement on Davis gained ground after Senator Kerry announced at a news conference in Lahore late last night that the US Department of Justice will conduct a criminal investigation into the incident in which Davis shot and killed two men despite his diplomatic immunity.

"Our Department of Justice will conduct its own thorough criminal investigation regardless of the immunity. We still believe the immunity applies but that doesn't mean we don t have the right under our law or the capacity to go through our own process," Kerry said.

The government is also expected to inform the High Court that Pakistan's laws and the Foreign Ministry's regulations required Davis to be registered with authorities as a diplomat, but this could not be done because of certain
unresolved queries, the official told the Dawn.

The court will also be told that the system of accreditation being followed in Pakistan is not in accordance with international law or prevalent in many countries, including the US, the official said.

The matter will then be left for the court to interpret, the official added.
Lahore High Court Chief Justice Ijaz Chaudhry had observed on February 1 that the court will decide "whether (Davis) has or does not have immunity".

First Published: February 16, 2011, 1:37 PM IST
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