U.S. de­mands that Pak­istan free diplo­mat who killed 2

The Washington Post Sunday - - THE WORLD - BY KARIN BRULLIARD brul­liardk@wash­post.com Spe­cial cor­re­spon­dent Aoun Sahi in La­hore con­trib­uted to this re­port.

is­lam­abad, pak­istan — The murky case of an Amer­i­can diplo­mat who fa­tally shot two Pak­ista­nis this week es­ca­lated into a diplo­matic stand­off Satur­day, as the U.S. Em­bassy de­manded the man’s im­me­di­ate re­lease and ac­cused Pak­istan of il­le­gally de­tain­ing him.

In a state­ment and in­ter­views, U.S. of­fi­cials in this cap­i­tal city said the man, Ray­mond A. Davis, was a diplo­mat who fired in self-de­fense and qual­i­fied for im­mu­nity from pros­e­cu­tion. Law en­force­ment au­thor­i­ties in Pun­jab prov­ince, where the shoot­ing took place Thurs­day, had made no ef­fort to ver­ify his diplo­matic sta­tus be­fore ar­rest­ing and de­tain­ing him, in vi­o­la­tion of in­ter­na­tional con­ven­tions, of­fi­cials said.

“You don’t treat a diplo­mat like an­other per­son. You don’t ar­raign them be­fore a court. That’s se­ri­ous, too, and this will es­ca­late,” a se­nior U.S. of­fi­cial said Satur­day, speak­ing on the con­di­tion of anonymity be­cause of the sen­si­tiv­ity of the is­sue.

The of­fi­cial said Pak­istani au­thor­i­ties had not al­lowed Amer­i­can of­fi­cials ac­cess to Davis un­til mid­night Fri­day, “a pretty big breach of pro­to­col.”

Shortly af­ter the United States is­sued its de­mand, Pak­istan’s For­eign Min­istry re­leased a state­ment re­fer­ring to Davis as a “U.S. func­tionary.” A se­nior Pak­istani govern­ment of­fi­cial said Davis’s diplo­matic sta­tus was “not clear at all.”

The du­el­ing state­ments sig­naled a deep­en­ing dis­pute be­tween the United States and Pak­istan — ten­u­ous al­lies whose part­ner­ship is acutely un­pop­u­lar among the Pak­istani pub­lic — over an in­ci­dent that has be­come en­meshed in broader ten­sions in the re­la­tion­ship.

Pak­istani govern­ment of­fi­cials, whoare of­ten ac­cused of be­ing pup­pets of the United States, have vowed not to give Davis spe­cial treat­ment and in­sisted that the le­gal process run its course. The main op­po­si­tion party, which runs the Pun­jab pro­vin­cial govern­ment, has cast it­self as even more de­fi­ant, and the se­nior U.S. of­fi­cial de­scribed of­fi­cials there as par­tic­u­larly un­co­op­er­a­tive.

A third Pak­istani man was struck and killed af­ter the shoot­ing, which took place in the east­ern city of La­hore, by an Amer­i­can con­sular ve­hi­cle that came to Davis’s res­cue, po­lice say.

In its state­ment, the Pak­istani For­eign Min­istry said that Pun­jab po­lice were han­dling the mat­ter and that the min­istry had “no sub­stan­tive com­ments to of­fer.” The Pak­istani govern­ment of­fi­cial said in­ves­ti­ga­tors were fo­cus­ing on why Davis, whom the U.S. Em­bassy said was as­signed to Is­lam­abad, was in La­hore and armed.

The se­nior U.S. of­fi­cial said Davis was a “per­ma­nent diplo­mat” who was as­signed to the U.S. Em­bassy in Is­lam­abad as a se­cu­rity of­fi­cer. Davis was tem­po­rar­ily work­ing at the U.S. con­sulate in La­hore, the of­fi­cial said. But he was not per­mit­ted to carry a weapon, the of­fi­cial said.

Davis told a Pak­istani court Fri­day that he fired on the two men, who were rid­ing a mo­tor­bike, af­ter they threat­ened him with pis­tols at a stop­light. U.S. of­fi­cials said the men ap­proached both sides of the car and that they had crim­i­nal records and were car­ry­ing cash and a cell­phone they had just stolen in a mug­ging.

A La­hore po­lice of­fi­cial said Satur­day that one of the men had a crim­i­nal record but that the sec­ond man’s back­ground had not yet been vet­ted.

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