US seeks custody of double murder-accused diplomat in Pak over diplomatic immunity

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Lahore, Jan 30(ANI): US Ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter wants the Pakistan government to hand over the US citizen charged with double murder in Lahore to US custody since he enjoys diplomatic immunity.

On Thursday, three people were killed when US diplomat Raymond Davis opened fire on motorcycle riders and hit another with his car in an attempt to escape from the scene at Mazang Chowk in Lahore.

Munter telephoned Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif late Saturday and shared with him his feelings imbibed with utter grief and sorrow over the Lahore incident.

During the telephonic conversation, Munter urged Nawaz that the Pakistan government should hand over Davis to US custody, as he possessed diplomatic immunity, being a US consulate employee.

Upon this, Nawaz, declining the US envoy's demand, replied that the loss of three precious lives of Pakistani citizens had deeply hurt the entire nation, and that only a court could come up with an ultimate judgment on the issue.

"I can do nothing as the matter is currently being heard in court," Nawaz concluded.

It is noteworthy that the accused diplomat assigned to the US Embassy in Islamabad has a US diplomatic passport and Pakistani visa valid until June 2012.

The US Embassy in Pakistan has also called for the immediate release of the US diplomat "unlawfully detained by authorities in Lahore."

"On January 27, the diplomat acted in self-defence when confronted by two armed men on motorcycles. The diplomat had every reason to believe that the armed men meant him bodily harm. Minutes earlier, the two men, who had criminal backgrounds, had robbed money and valuables at gunpoint from a Pakistani citizen in the same area," said a US embassy press release.

"When detained, the U.S. diplomat identified himself to police as a diplomat and repeatedly requested immunity under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. Local police and senior authorities failed to observe their legal obligation to verify his status with either the U.S. Consulate General in Lahore or the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad. Furthermore, the diplomat was formally arrested and remanded into custody, which is a violation of international norms and the Vienna Convention, to which Pakistan is a signatory," it added. (ANI)

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