US regrets widow's suicide but insists Pak frees murder-accused diplomat

Washington, Feb 8(ANI): The United States has said it was aware of the fact that the widow of one of the two Pakistani man killed by a US diplomat last month had committed suicide, but reiterated that Pakistan must fulfil its international obligations under the Vienna Convention and release the accused.

While US official Raymond Davis, who shot two persons- Faizan Haider and Faheem- to death at Mazang Chowk in Lahore on January 27, remains in Pakistani detention, Faheem's wife Shumaila Kanwal consumed poisonous pills and was taken to hospital in Faisalabad on Sunday, where she died despite attempts to save her.

When asked for his reaction on the matter during a press briefing, US Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs Philip J. Crowley said: "Well, we are aware of this. And it is clearly a tragedy for that family. The matter of the deaths of three individuals involving our diplomats is still under investigation."

"But that said, we continue to make clear to the Government of Pakistan that our diplomat has diplomatic immunity, in our view was acting in self-defence, and should be released. Pakistan should fulfil its international obligations under the Vienna Convention. Ambassador Munter met today with President Zardari to continue to make that point," he added.

On being asked if US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had brought up this issue with Pakistan's Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani when they met in Munich, Crowley confirmed that the "Secretary had a discussion with General Kayani on the margins of the Munich Security Conference."

"Ambassador Munter talked to President Zardari today. The Secretary talked to President Zardari last week. So we continue to have contacts with our Pakistani counterparts, and we continue to emphasize the importance of resolving this case," he said, pointing out that the phone call with Zardari was "largely about this issue."

On the question whether there had been 'any slowdown on sort of contacts at a lower level, because this issue remains unresolved,' Crowley said the United States "continues to have contacts" with the Pakistan Government.

"We continue to express to them the importance of resolving this. And we continue to express to them the fact that our U.S. diplomat has diplomatic immunity and should be released," he added. (ANI)

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