Pak Punjab Govt. won't bow to pressure in murder-accused US diplomat's trial: Shahbaz

Lahore, Feb 01(ANI): The government of Pakistan's Punjab province will not give in to any "national or international pressure" in the trial of double murder-accused American diplomat Raymond Davis, Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has said.

Three people were killed last Thursday when 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.

Talking to reporters at the Governor's House, Shahbaz said the investigation would be conducted on merit and justice would be ensured at all costs, the Daily Times reports.

On the provision of diplomatic cover to the consulate officials, he clarified that it was the discretion of Pakistan's Foreign Office and the federal government to decide about it.

Meanwhile, the Lahore High Court (LHC) has directed the government to include Davis in the Exit Control List (ECL).

The court said on Tuesday that the accused American official cannot be allowed to leave Pakistan, and that the federal government cannot do anything in this regard.

Earlier, the US Embassy in Pakistan had called for an immediate release of the US diplomat "unlawfully detained by authorities in Lahore," saying that he "has a US diplomatic passport and Pakistani visa valid until June 2012."

"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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