US pressure on Pak to free murder-accused Davis will be "counterproductive": Bashir

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Islamabad, Feb 13(ANI): Any American pressure on Pakistan to release double-murder accused US diplomat Raymond Davis will be "counterproductive", Pakistan's Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir has said.

At a Foreign Office briefing, Bashir noted that the United States and Pakistan had a long history, and said that it was "unthinkable" that a single incident should strain their relationship.

Still, "any US pressure on the issue of Raymond Davis will be counterproductive," the Daily Times quoted him, as saying.

Bashir tried to maintain a stiff upper lip while appeasing Washington and trying to defend the independent 'policy' of the Foreign Office at the same time.

"Our efforts are to ensure that the Lahore incident is not blown out of proportion and we hope that there will be nothing said or done that will be detrimental to Pakistan-US relations. It will be extremely counter productive for one person to destroy a 60-year-old relationship," The News quoted Bashir, as saying.

At one point of time, the Foreign Secretary went on to say that he would not seek immunity if he ever did something "morally wrong".

"If I myself would do something morally wrong, then I will not seek to protect myself under the figment of immunity," he said, referring to the US insistence for full immunity for Davis, who has confessed to shooting dead two Pakistani men in Lahore allegedly in 'self-defence'.

Responding to a query, Bashir said the Foreign Office would not change facts, and that there was no influence from any quarter.

"All wings of the state are in conformity on the issue. As of now it will be the government of Pakistan's executive determination (on dealing with immunity)," he said.

When asked to answer directly whether the arrested US official enjoyed diplomatic immunity, Bashir refused to do so, saying that it would be wrong to comment in this regard since the matter was sub judice.

"Most people think it is the job of the Foreign Office to deal with this, but the Lahore High Court (LHC) has explicitly stated that it is the court's prerogative to take cognizance of the issue if and when it is raised. The issue of immunity has as yet not come before the court," he explained. (ANI)

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