Gilani hints at pardon by victims' family to murder-accused US official as solution

Islamabad, Feb 17(ANI): Pakistan Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani has hinted at a pardon by the victims' family to double murder-accused US official Raymond Davis.

Speaking to a convention of religious scholars, Gilani suggested that the relatives of two Pakistani men shot dead by Davis might pardon the American, but added that it was for the court to decide the accused's fate, SAMAA TV reports.

"Davis also has a lawyer, he will present his case and then the court will decide whether he has immunity or not," a news agency quoted Gilani, as saying.

The PM's comments came as US Senator John Kerry visited Pakistan to hold talks with national leaders aimed at resolving a bitter diplomatic row over Davis, and US President Barack Obama publicly spoke for the first time on the issue, insisting that Pakistan must recognize Davis as a diplomat and release him on the grounds of diplomatic immunity.

Gilani also asked the religious scholars to help the government find a solution to the sensitive issue in accordance with the Islamic law, under which a victim's family can pardon a killer in return for compensation.

"Ulema (Islamic scholars) should tell the solution. Either the heirs should give a pardon or ask about 'Qisas' (compensation) or the court should decide. We don't have any role," he added.

Gilani also told the scholars that his government was caught between a public backlash and international anger, adding: "There is a political price."

Earlier, in a meeting with Kerry, Gilani said that the Davis case should not affect the relations between the two countries or their cooperation in fighting the war on terror.

According to the report, Gilani also told Kerry that his expressions of regret over the case and the possibility of securing a religious pardon for Davis "should be considered to cool down the rising temperatures in the bilateral relations".(ANI)

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