Gilani says ''rule of law'' would prevail in Davis case

Rezaul H Laskar

Islamabad, Feb 21 (PTI) Pakistan Prime Minister YousufRaza Gilani today told the parliament that the case of a USofficial arrested for gunning down two men would be decided bythe courts and hoped that the governments of both countrieswill not allow the matter to come in the way of their"mutually beneficial partnership".

Earlier in the day, Gilani had reacted to reports thatUS official Raymond Davis was a CIA operative by saying thathis government would handle the matter without compromisingnational interests.

Making a statement in the National Assembly or lowerhouse of parliament on the issue of detained American nationalRaymond Davis this evening, Gilani made it clear that hisgovernment intended to settle the issue according to "dictatesof justice and the rule of law".

At the same time, the government will keep in mind thepeople''s sentiments and "not compromise on Pakistan''ssovereignty and dignity" while working to resolve Davis'' case,he said.

"I wish to categorically assure this august house andthe people of Pakistan of our firm resolve to adopt a coursethat fully accords with dictates of justice and the rule oflaw," Gilani said.

"I want to assure this august house and the nationthat my government will not compromise on Pakistan''ssovereignty and dignity. We are a responsible government andconscious of the sentiments of our people," he said.

Noting that the democratic government of Pakistan andthe Obama administration were "working hard to build along-term strategic relationship", Gilani said: "I amconfident both governments will not allow the Davis case tocome in the way of this mutually beneficial partnership".

The Pakistan People''s Party-led government has facedstrong criticism from opposition parties and former foreignminister Shah Mahmood Qureshi for its handling of the case ofDavis, who was arrested in Lahore last month after he shot andkilled two armed men he said were trying to rob him.

A third Pakistani died when he was struck by a USconsulate vehicle rushing to help Davis.

Pakistani leaders, fearful of a backlash from thepublic, have rebuffed repeated US demands for Davis to bereleased on grounds of diplomatic immunity.

The case has been further complicated by revelationsin the western media that Davis, a former Special Forcessoldier, was working for the CIA at the time of his arrest.

Noting that the matter was in the courts andsub-judice, Gilani acknowledged that there are "differences ofopinion between Pakistan and the US in the case of Mr Davis onthe issues of interpretation and applicability ofinternational and national laws".

He added: "This is because of ambiguity andinconsistency that is reflected in the available record".

Reports have said that Davis was not listed as adiplomat in the records of the Foreign Office. .

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