ISLAMABAD - In a dramatic development, the Foreign Ministry on Tuesday sent a letter to the Law Ministry, declaring Raymond Davis a diplomat enjoying immunity and seeking advice on the legal aspects of the contentious issue. The latest but highly significant move on part of the Foreign Office came at a time when an influential US Senator John Kerry is visiting Pakistan to resolve the diplomatic row with Pakistan over the detention of the US citizen, who was arrested in Lahore on January 27 after killing two Pakistani citizens.
In addition to that, US President Barack Obama directly demanded Davis' release in a news conference on Tuesday in Washington. The Foreign Office decision to declare Davis a diplomat was most likely to facilitate the US citizen in the court of law, according to diplomatic circles, who say the relevant international law (Vienna Convention 1961) has to be given priority over the country's law.
"The Foreign Ministry has decided to declare immunity for Davis and that would be done in its report to the Lahore High Court, but before that, it has sent a letter on the issue to the Law Ministry for guidelines on legal aspects and it is in that letter that the US citizen has been declared a diplomat working in the US embassy in Islamabad," an official said on condition of anonymity.
The official declined to share the contents of the Foreign Office letter, but said all he could says was that the decision had been made after thorough study of Davis' documents provided by the US embassy and of his record at the Foreign Office. He said Davis should have been issued an accreditation card by the Foreign Ministry, saying that thing could have saved him from arrest.
However, he said the US embassy didn't clarify the status of Davis before the Foreign Office in its past communication about Davis. A diplomatic source, however, said the government of Pakistan had decided to hand over Davis to the US and for that, it had to declare a diplomatic immunity for him in the court after assurances from the US that he would be tried for what he did in his own country.