Handle American''s case with care: Kayani to Malik

Rezaul H Laskar

Islamabad, Jan 29 (PTI) Pakistan Army chief Gen AshfaqParvez Kayani has advised Interior Minister Rehman Malik tohandle the case of a US consular employee, who shot and killedtwo Pakistanis, with "extreme care".

Kayani is "said to have advised Malik to handle thematter with ''extreme care'' given its sensitive nature," TheExpress Tribune newspaper quoted its sources as saying.

Kayani also advised that the American''s "apparentdiplomatic links" and "military links" should be kept in mindas the case moves forward, the report said.

The two leaders also "discussed the law and ordersituation that could arise" if the American is grantedimmunity, the report added.

Malik met the army chief at the General Headquartersin Rawalpindi yesterday.

There was no official word on the meeting thoughstate-run APP news agency reported they had discussed "mattersrelated to internal security".

Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah said the USnational � identified by media as Raymond Davis � had beenbooked for murder and would be prosecuted according toPakistani laws.

The American has contended that he acted inself-defence after two youths allegedly tried to rob him in acongested area of Lahore on Thursday.

A third Pakistani was killed when he was hit by a USconsulate vehicle rushing to the aid of the American.

The American was remanded to police custody for sixdays by a judicial magistrate yesterday.

"Spotting the armed youths chasing me to rob me of mybelongings, I fired at them when they came close to me," theAmerican was quoted as having told the court by DeputyProsecutor General Rana Bakhtiar Ahmed.

The US has launched a flurry of diplomatic activity inWashington and Islamabad to seek diplomatic immunity for theconsulate employee.

The US deputy chief of mission and another seniordiplomat separately met officials of the Foreign Office''sprotocol division, which handles issues related to diplomaticimmunities and privileges, the Dawn newspaper reported.

Following these contacts, US Ambassador Cameron Muntermet Interior Minister Malik and Foreign Secretary SalmanBashir.

Diplomatic sources said the US State Department wasalso working with the Pakistani embassy in Washington on theissue.

"The US Embassy is working with Pakistani authoritiesto determine the facts and work towards a resolution," said abrief statement issued by the American mission in Islamabad.

The Dawn quoted its sources as saying that the USnational "did not enjoy diplomatic immunity per se". (MORE)PTI RHL

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