Court will decide double murder-accused US diplomat's fate, Zardari tells US

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Islamabad, Feb 01(ANI): Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari has turned down a US Congressional delegation's demand to hand over double murder-accused American diplomat Raymond Davis to the US government.

According to sources, Zardari came under immense pressure when a six-member delegation of US Congressmen called on him and sought diplomatic immunity for the arrested US national, and said he should be handed over to the US government forthwith, the Dawn reports.

During the 45-minute meeting, Zardari reiterated the stance expressed earlier by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif that the matter would be decided by court.

According to the president's spokesman Farhatullah Babar, Zardari told the US delegation that while he "appreciated" their concern, the "matter was already before the courts."

"It will be prudent to wait for the legal course to be completed," Zardari was quoted, as saying during the meeting.

The sources said the issue was raised at the start of the meeting, and then Zardari touched upon other matters before the US delegation again came to the issue, and they continued to discuss it for a long time.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said: "The federal government is not putting any pressure to hand over Raymond Davis to America."

Some observers are of the view that the Pakistan Muslim League-N, which heads the coalition government in Punjab, has taken a stiff stand on the issue to get political mileage, making it difficult for the federal government to act leniently.

They say the situation could become more complex for the president and the federal government if the court rejects the diplomatic status of the US national and treats him like an ordinary foreigner. (ANI)

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