Islamabad, Feb 7 (PTI) The controversy over thekilling of two Pakistanis by a US consulate employee in Lahoretook a new turn today with a media report stating that thedead men were believed to be "intelligence operatives".
The men shot and killed by US official Raymond Davisin Lahore on January 27 "belonged to the securityestablishment" and "found the activities of the Americanofficial detrimental to our national security", an unnamedsecurity official told The Express Tribune newspaper.
The government''s "tough stance" on the issue was alsoa "reaction to the attempts by certain elements in Washingtonto implicate the country''s top spy agency, the ISI, in theNovember 2008 Mumbai attacks", the official was quoted assaying.
"The government is very angry with the decision of anAmerican court to summon top ISI officials in connections withthe Mumbai attacks," the official said.
Inter-Services Intelligence agency chief Lt Gen AhmedShuja Pasha and Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeedhave been issued notices by the court in Brooklyn afterrelatives of two Jewish victims of the Mumbai attacks filed alawsuit last year.
Davis had told investigators that he acted inself-defence after the two armed men tried to rob him.
Police officials in Lahore had earlier said evidencegathered by them suggested the dead men were robbers.
A case has also been filed for a robbery allegedlycommitted by the two men shortly before they were killed.
The security official, who asked not to be identifiedas he was not authorised to speak to the media, said thePresident, the Prime Minister and army chief discussed theissue of Davis in a meeting last week.
The three leaders "thought it was advisable to resistthe US pressure on the Raymond Davis issue and believed thedetained American national should not be released at thisstage", the official was quoted as saying.
Officials in the Foreign Office confirmed thegovernment''s position on the Davis issue but said he wouldeventually be released once there is a "firm assurance fromthe US that such incidents would not recur", the report said.
The government is contemplating to ask the US to waiveDavis''s immunity and try him in an American court, theofficials said.
A US Embassy official told the daily the Americangovernment had "no plans yet to agree on such a step".
In a related development, the Pakistan government hasbarred three more US nationals from travelling out of thecountry following allegations that they were in the vehiclethat crushed a man to death in Lahore immediately after Davisshot and killed the two men. (More) PTI RHL
The Punjab government has sought assistance from the federal government in securing the custody of the threeAmerican men accused of killing the third Pakistan while theywere rushing to help Davis.
"We have sought access to get custody of these accusedbecause they are wanted by the Punjab police in connection tothe Raymond Davis case," said Pervez Rashid, spokesman for thePunjab Chief Minister.
"The interior ministry has placed the names of thethree Americans, including the driver of the US consulate inLahore, on the Exit Control List,� an Interior Ministryofficial was quoted as saying by The Express Tribune.
The Exit Control List empowers the government toprevent any person from leaving Pakistan.
The Interior Ministry, through the Foreign Office, haswritten to the US consulate, asking for the three Americans tobe handed over to Punjab Police, the Interior Ministryofficial said.
He declined to name the three Americans, saying itmight compromise the investigation. The US Embassy said it wasnot aware of these developments.
"We have not received any such information on theissue as yet," said Courtney Beale, acting spokesperson forthe Embassy.
Davis is currently in police custody in Lahore andPakistani leaders have rejected US demands for him to bereleased on the ground that he enjoys diplomatic immunity. PTIRHL