Clinton ‘forced’ Qureshi to grant immunity to Davis

Saturday, February 12, 2011

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan’s former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had pressurised him to verify the diplomatic immunity to Raymond Davis arrested for gunning down two men in Lahore.

“Hillary Clinton called me and wanted me to publicly confirm diplomatic immunity of Davis. However, I refused to do so because it was against the factual position in the case,” Qureshi was quoted as saying by Dunya News Saturday night.

“US envoy in Pakistan, Cameron Munter also called in the first week of Feb and demanded confirmation of diplomatic immunity to Davis,” Qureshi said, adding that “the said request was also denied”.

“Munter threatened that Hillary Clinton would not meet me at the Munich security conference Feb 6, if the request was not granted,” Qureshi recalled.

According to the channel, Qureshi told the US ambassador that “the issue in any case is now in court and the diplomatic immunity status will also be decided by the court”.

The diplomatic immunity to Davis and his possible handing-over to the US have been challenged in Lahore High Court and the hearing of case is underway.

Davis was arrested Jan 27 for gunning down two Pakistanis. He claimed that he acted in self-defence as the two armed men wanted to rob him. A court in Pakistan Friday sent him to jail on a 14-day judicial remand.

Qureshi, who was dropped from the federal cabinet, also visited the foreign office for a farewell Saturday afternoon. Earlier, he called on President Asif Ali Zardari to apprise him of the situation regarding the Pakistan-US ties and the Davis case.

Zardari requested him to return to the cabinet, but he declined. Qureshi made it clear that no portfolio other than foreign ministry was acceptable to him, the channel reported.

Qureshi’s name was in the list of ministers supposed to take oath Friday after the cabinet was dissolved earlier this week to prune it. However, he refused to take oath at the last minute when he was offered water and power ministry instead of foreign affairs, the report said.

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