John Kerry Tries To Soothe Pakistan Diplomatic Dispute

By Babar Dogar and Heidi Vogt, Associated Press

LAHORE, Pakistan (AP) – U.S. Sen. John Kerry promised the Pakistani people Tuesday that a jailed U.S. embassy worker will be subjected to a U.S. criminal investigation if he is released by the Pakistani government.

Kerry also expressed regret for the deaths of two Pakistani men in an apparent attempt to smooth over relations with the important ally in the war against extremists and al-Qaeda while still insisting that the American needs to be released.

Raymond Allen Davis has been held by Pakistani authorities since he fatally shot two Pakistanis in the eastern city of Lahore on Jan. 27, and his case has become a bitter point of contention between Washington and Islamabad, whose relationship is considered key to ending the war in Afghanistan.

U.S. officials have said Davis shot in self-defense when two armed men on a motorcycle tried to rob him. Pakistani police officials have said they plan to try him for murder, arguing that while the Pakistanis did have a loaded gun, there was no round in the chamber, and saying Davis shot one man as he was trying to flee.

Regardless of guilt, the U.S. says the detention of Davis, a former Special Forces soldier and an embassy worker, is illegal under international agreements covering diplomats. U.S. officials have threatened to withhold billions of dollars in aid to Pakistan unless Davis is freed.

A chorus of American officials have called for his release on the grounds of diplomatic immunity, including President Barack Obama on Tuesday.

Kerry took a softer approach, saying that international law should not be abandoned, but also pledging that Davis would be fully investigated.

“It is customary in an incident like this for our government to conduct a criminal investigation. That is our law. And I can give you the full assurance of our government today that that will take place,” Kerry told reporters in the eastern city of Lahore. “So there is no such thing as a suggestion that something is out of law or that America thinks somehow we’re not subject to the law.”

Kerry spoke on a last-minute trip to Pakistan to try to heal relations over the case. He emphasized his sorrow over the incident and the deaths of the two men.

“I want to come here today to express our deepest regret for this tragic event and to express the sorrow of the American people for the loss of life that has taken place,” he said.

His visit came as the Pakistani government appeared to be giving an opening for Davis’ release through the courts.

A Pakistani federal government official told The Associated Press on Tuesday that after reviewing the matter, most experts in Pakistan’s legal and foreign offices believe Davis is immune from prosecution. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the subject’s sensitivity.

Pakistani government officials had avoided a definitive stand on Davis’ legal status in the face of popular anger over the shootout. Thousands have rallied against Davis, demanding he be hanged, while the Taliban have threatened attacks against any Pakistani official involved in freeing the 36-year-old Virginia native.


Associated Press writers Nahal Toosi, Zahar Khan and Asif Shahzad in Islamabad, and Matthew Pennington in Washington, D.C., contributed to this report.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

  • sikandar zulqarnain

    if the america beleive in rule of Law then whey do’t it place the matter before the court where the the barbric and terrorist act committed be raymond davis is subjudice, in viana act regarding to which america is claiming imunity for dsvis is not silent , its quite clear in it that there is no imunity regarding the serious crimes.Now the quetion is whether the brutal and cowerdice act of terrorism by davis is not a serious offence ? then what’s the serious offence in the dictionary of u.s and u.s law……………
    Now the words are being used that Pakistan Is ally to u.s in war against extrimist and al qauida what a hop from the words war against terrirism as used in the past, if it is so then why exerting pressure on the ally .

  • CEO

    When is the Obama Administration going to realize that Pakistan is a terrorist state and our enemy, not our ally? I wonder how much help they’d be in investigating Davis’ murder if these two thugs had been successful? Probably not much….and the two thugs would be heroes.

    If they don’t release Davis, cut off all financial aid and sever diplomatic relations. If they want to join all the other Muslim nations that hate us because we stand for freedom and human rights, that’ll be just fine. Then we can invade them and sqeeze Al Qaeda and the Taliban from two sides. Works for me.

  • CEO

    You know, I think John Kerry has been a lousy Senator all these years, but I do think he’d make a good Secretaty of State….seriously. If Hillary steps down, I hope Obama offers the job to Kerry. He seems to have a grip in international affairs….probably because he spends so much time traveling outside the U.S. and ignoring his constituents here in Mass.

  • Gossip in the Secretarial Pool: Senator Kerry’s future? « Lovers Muggers and Thieves

    […] Last week, Kerry flew to Pakistan to negotiate the release of a U.S. embassy worker who shot two Pakistani men.  Kerry proposed that the worker, Raymond Allen Davis, would face a trial in the United States, according to Babar Dogar and Heidi Vogt. […]

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