Gilani says Davis case posing ''difficult questions'' for Pak

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Rezaul H Laskar

Islamabad, Feb 16 (PTI) Pakistan Prime Minister YousufRaza Gilani today said the case of US official Raymond Daviscould be resolved only by the courts or relatives of the deadmen, while admitting that his government was facing "difficultdecisions" on the issue.

The government has made it very clear that it wouldaccept any decision by the courts or the heirs of the dead menon the issue of US national Raymond Davis, Gilani said whileaddressing the National Seerat Conference, a gathering ofclerics and religious scholars.

"The matter can be resolved if the relatives (of thedead men) grant a pardon or the court decides. We have no rolein the matter," Gilani said.

Davis'' case was before the courts, which would decidethe matter after evaluating evidence on whether he hasdiplomatic immunity, he said.

"Davis also has a lawyer, he will present his case andthen the court will decide whether he has immunity or not," headded.

Gilani''s comments came as media reports said that theUS and Pakistan may be nearing an arrangement to repatriateDavis and that the Pakistan government is expected to concedein court that the American qualifies for diplomatic immunityunder the Vienna Convention.

The Dawn newspaper said in a report today that thegovernment''s counsel is expected to testify on Davis''diplomatic status when the Lahore High Court reconvenestomorrow.

Gilani, however, told the gathering, "The governmenthas never asked the Foreign Ministry to write any summary onthe issue and the Foreign Secretary spelt out the government''sposition. It is now for the courts to interpret these things".

"Had the government bowed before any pressure, USPresident (Barack) Obama would have had no need to appear ontelevision asking for Davis'' immunity," he said, referring toObama''s call for Davis to be freed during a news conferenceyesterday.

Gilani said a "murder" had been committed and theclerics could suggest a solution.

"We are facing difficult decisions. There is apolitical price. If we take it, then the people do not supportus, and if we don''t do, it the world does not support us," headded.

"We are caught between the devil and the deep sea.

This needs wisdom. We will do whatever is in the interest ofthe country and the nation," Gilani said against a backdrop ofincreasing US pressure to free Davis.

Gilani said his government would not do anything thatharms national interests. .

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