Pakistan paid 'blood money' to secure release of CIA contractor, admits Foreign Minister
In a startling revelation, Pakistan's Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif has admitted that the government paid a hefty blood money to secure the release of a private US defence contractor, Raymond Davis, who killed two Pakistani citizens in 2011.
Asif was responding to a question in the senate by Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl's (JUI-F) senator Hafiz Hamdullah who demanded debate into the release of Davis who went scot-free after killing two Pakistanis in Lahore in 2011.
Davis, 42, was arrested in Lahore in 2011 on charges of killing two Pakistani citizens and thus kicked off a huge diplomatic crisis between the two countries.
Asif said a lot of government officials were involved in the release of Davis but asked the house to resist from initiating a debate as it would only bring "embarrassment".
"Even the families of the people killed by Davis were compensated by the government of Pakistan and not by the US," he said. Asif said those who played a role in his release "might have done so for their own vested interests".
"These people who played a role in his release compromised national dignity in the process," he said.
The Davis episode strained ties between Pakistan and the US as American policymakers pressed for diplomatic immunity for Davis and pushed for his immediate release.
The CIA contractor spent 49 days in Pakistani custody, and was released on March 16, 2011 after the families of the two slain men reached an agreement with the government.
A private TV channel Geo news reported that the families of victims were paid USD 2.4 million in blood money, however, Asif did not mention the amount.