Pak, US cancel Afghan meet over arrested American official

Rezaul H Laskar

Islamabad, Feb 12 (PTI) The 16-day stand-off betweenthe US and Pakistan over an American official arrested forgunning down two men in Lahore has resulted in thecancellation of a crucial trilateral meeting that was to beheld later this month in Washington to discuss the emergingsituation in Afghanistan.

The meeting of the Foreign Ministers of US, Pakistanand Afghanistan is "most likely being rescheduled", ForeignSecretary Salman Bashir said today.

Pakistan still does not have new dates for the meetingthat was scheduled to be held during February 23-25, he told abriefing arranged by the Diplomatic Correspondents Associationof Pakistan.

Bashir also acknowledged that there were "no cleardates" for President Barack Obama''s visit to Pakistan though"this has been talked of for a long time."

Reports have said that the US has suspended allhigh-level contacts to pressure Pakistan to release Americanofficial Raymond Davis, who was arrested in Lahore on January27 after he shot and killed two men who he claimed were tryingto rob him.

Confusion has surrounded the diplomatic status ofDavis, a former military personnel, and the identity of thetwo men he killed.

Bashir said the pressure mounted by the US for Davis''srelease was "counter-productive" and indicated that this couldadversely impact bilateral ties.

He made it clear that Davis'' case was in court andwould be decided according to Pakistani laws.

However, he added: "If I were personally to dosomething which is morally wrong or even criminal, (something)that is not right by civilised standards, then I will not seekimmunity or seek protection under some figment like theconcept of immunity."

The concept of diplomatic immunity has a long historyand is not limited to the Vienna Convention and Pakistanilaws. .

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