US delegation meets Gilani over illegal detention of diplomat

Written by: Pti
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Rezaul H Laskar

Islamabad, Feb 4 (PTI) A US Congressional delegationtoday protested the "continued illegal detention" of anAmerican diplomat in Pakistan during a meeting with PrimeMinister Yousuf Raza Gilani, who said the matter would bedecided by the court.

The bipartisan delegation comprising US RepresentativesBuck McKeon, John Kline and Silvestre Reyes called on thePakistan government "to abide by its obligation underinternational and Pakistani law to recognize his diplomaticimmunity and immediately release him", said a brief statementissued by the US embassy.

Responding to concerns expressed by the US Congressmen,Gilani said the matter "is sub-judice and would be decided bythe court".

The American "has been extended due facilities andsecurity" by the Punjab government, Gilani was quoted assaying in a statement issued by his office.

The US has stepped up pressure on Pakistan to releaseconsular employee Raymond Davis, who was arrested after heshot and killed two alleged robbers in Lahore on January 27.

A third Pakistani died when he was hit by a US consulatevehicle rushing to the aid of Davis.

The US has made two demands for the release of Davis inthe past seven days, saying his "continued detention is agross violation of international law".

Gilani also told the Congressmen that Pakistan iscommitted to a long-term, broad-based and stable strategicrelationship with the US.

"These relations are vitally important not bilaterallybut also for regional stability and overall peace in theworld.

Hence, it is imperative for both sides to make everypossible endeavour for further strengthening the existingcordial ties," he said.

He called for the development of a mechanism throughwhich the provision of equipment and assistance for buildingthe capacity of Pakistan�s armed forces "can flow unhindered".

He also called for a common strategy between Pakistan,Afghanistan and the US for "durable peace, stability,development and progress" in the war-torn country.

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