US consulate employee kills two in Pakistan, complicating ties

Police told the Monitor that the American claimed to be acting in self-defense, but the incident could further inflame anti-US sentiment in Pakistan.

Mohsin Raza/Reuters
Policemen stand next to a car, which police said a U.S consulate employee was traveling in when he was engaged in a shoot-out, after it was brought to a police station in Lahore January 27. The U.S. consulate employee shot and killed two gunmen in self-defense in the Pakistani city of Lahore on Thursday, police said.

A US consulate employee shot dead two Pakistanis in the eastern city of Lahore Thursday, while a third Pakistani was killed in a traffic accident in the aftermath of the shooting, according to local police officials.

Police told news agencies that the American claimed to be acting in self-defense, but the incident could raise already high-levels of anti-American sentiment in the country, an important US ally. Questions are also likely to be raised as to why the man was carrying a handgun and whether that is standard consulate practice.

Lahore police chief Aslam Tareen told the Monitor that the American identified himself as Raymond Davis, a “technical adviser” to the US Consulate in Lahore, and that he confessed to the shooting after having been chased by two assailants on a motorcycle.

Mr. Tareen says that Mr. Davis told him, “The moment I saw a gun I opened fire,” adding that the police are now in contact with Pakistan’s Foreign Office to determine whether Davis has diplomatic immunity from prosecution. One of the alleged assailants has been identified as "Faizan," a Lahore resident. Tareen says Faizan was carrying a pistol at the time of the attack.

“The American national told us he was driving his vehicle and stopped at a traffic signal. He saw motorcycle riders and one pulled out a pistol. The man told us he then pulled out his pistol and fired in self-defense,” Agence France-Presse quoted Tarin as saying.

A third Pakistani was later killed in an accident with a car from the US consulate that was sent to aid the employee.

According to Pakistani news channels, more than 100 people blocked the road where the incident took place and set tires on fire in protest.

Religious parties and right-wing talk show hosts here often portray Americans as being responsible for killing Pakistani civilians and may use the shooting to further their campaign.

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