Former Pakistani Official Denies American Has Blanket Immunity


Pakistan’s former foreign minister says a detained American citizen accused of killing two Pakistanis does not have blanket diplomatic immunity as Washington maintains.

Shah Mehmood Qureshi said Wednesday that before he left the cabinet last week, advisors told him the American did not qualify for blanket immunity.

U.S. President Barack Obama told reporters in Washington on Tuesday that Raymond Davis has diplomatic immunity and that the United States expects Pakistan to abide by international conventions.

He also urged Pakistan to immediately free Davis, who is accused of killing the Pakistanis during an alleged attempted robbery in the eastern city of Lahore last month.

U.S. Senator John Kerry met with Qureshi on Wednesday, and was scheduled to hold talks with Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and President Asif Ali Zardari.

Kerry on Tuesday expressed regret about the incident, and told reporters in Islamabad the U.S. will conduct a criminal investigation into the case.

Mr. Obama stressed the U.S. is not “callous” about the loss of life. However, he said it will continue to work with Pakistan to secure Davis’ release.

U.S. Consul General in Lahore Carmela Conroy on Tuesday refuted reports in some Pakistani media suggesting that Davis and U.S. officials visiting him in prison have acted rudely. She corroborated statements made by prison officials, who confirmed that Davis has behaved appropriately at all times during his incarceration.

Conroy said the U.S. official is being held under the same conditions as any Pakistani would be. She added, however, that Davis has regular consular access visits, as all foreign prisoners are entitled to under international and Pakistani law.

The U.S. says Davis acted in self-defense when armed men tried to rob him. But Pakistani police have called him a “cold-blooded murderer.” Pakistani officials say the case will be decided by a court.

The case has heightened tensions between the two countries.


The VOA is the Voice of America

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