US consulate employee kills two in Pakistan: What we know
The US is claiming diplomatic immunity for Raymond Davis, who shot two Pakistanis last week during an apparent robbery. That could make it harder for the weak civilian government to promote US-backed policies, analysts here warn.
If the American consular employee who shot dead two Pakistanis last Thursday gets immunity, it could make it harder for Pakistan’s weak civilian government to sell closer cooperation with America on its battle against militants to the Pakistani people, analysts here warn.Skip to next paragraph
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“If he actually walks away, people will demand answers. The ability of the government to sell US-backed policies to the people will become eroded,” says Ejaz Haider, a columnist in Pakistan.
Much is still unclear surrounding the shooting and the next steps. Here's what is known and what it could mean:
What exactly happened?
A US consulate employee shot dead two Pakistanis on a motorcycle from his car last Thursday in a crowed part of the city. A third man was later killed in a hit and run when a US consulate car, reportedly sped down the wrong side of the road on its way to aid the American. The US employee reportedly told Pakistan police that he was acting in self-defense and that the men, who were armed, had tried to rob him after taking out money from an ATM.
The US consulate employee remains in Pakistani custody. He is charged with two counts of murder and of possessing an illegal firearm.
Who is the US consulate employee?
While US authorities have refrained from naming the employee, or expounding on his role in the Lahore consulate, Pakistani police say he identified himself to them as Raymond Davis, a “technical adviser” to the US government.
According to the Dawn newspaper, Mr. Davis has visited the country nine times and his last visa was issued in June for two years.
There has been much speculation over the nature of Davis's position, with some reports in the Pakistani media declaring him to be an employee of a private Florida-based security firm, Hyperion Protective Consultants, possibly involved in intelligence gathering.
Davis’s use of what appears to have been an illegal semiautomatic firearm and his accurate aim while firing bullets through his windshield raises further questions as to the nature of his employment – questions that have yet to be answered by American authorities, Mr. Haider adds.
An editorial in the Daily Times, a liberal Pakistani newspaper, argued: “Instead of going around in circles, the US should come clean on Davis’s real identity and his position at the US consulate. The US must realize that Pakistan is its frontline ally in the war against terror but that does not mean it can allow American nationals to violate the law of the land.”
Immediately following news of the shooting last week, Pakistani news channels reported that more than 100 people blocked the road where the incident took place and set tires on fire in protest.
Then Sunday, 15,000 members of religious political parties held a street rally in Lahore to protest the deaths.
On Monday night, President Asif Ali Zardari told visiting US lawmakers that courts should decide the fate of the employee. "“It would be prudent to wait for the legal course to be completed,” Zardari’s office quoted him as saying.