LAHORE - Both the federal and Punjab governments are at odds over which government will decide the fate of US national Raymond Davis, charged with double murder, in the wake of US government's demand for his release. On Saturday, the US embassy in Islamabad asked the government to release Raymond Davis as he was protected by the Vienna Convention that gives diplomats immunity against arrest or criminal proceedings.
In response to the US demand, the Punjab government distanced itself from the issue, saying it was up to the federal government or the court to decide the fate of Davis. Punjab government's spokesman Senator Pervaiz Rasheed said the ball was in the federal government's court. "It is up to federal government how the deal with the issue. Ultimately, its the court that will determine whether the US national enjoys diplomatic immunity or not as being claimed by the US government," he said.
But the federal government officials said that it was entirely a provincial issue. "It is up to the provincial government whether it releases Davis," a senior official told Pakistan Today. "It is the Punjab police which arrested Davis, registered a case against him and then produce him in court. As such, the court and Punjab Home Department will decide whether Davis can be released; the federal government has nothing to do with the case," the official said.
However, the Punjab government has announced not to give in to any pressure in the case. Pervaiz Rashid said the PML-N government had a track record of never succumbing to pressure. To a question, he said if the foreigner had committed a crime and was found guilty, law would take its course in its true spirit. "If the killer has diplomatic immunity, the US Consulate will have to approach the court and plead the case and produce the requisite documents," he said.
Meanwhile, Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah said that according to the United Nations and Geneva resolutions, no diplomat had immunity to kill innocent citizens of any country. He said the Punjab government would take legal action against US national Raymond Davis and the US should accept the court's decision. The law minister said he had written a letter to the US Consulate and demanded permission to interrogate the driver who ran over a citizen.