Being arrogant will not help US: Pakistani daily

Monday, February 14, 2011

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan is “in a fix” due to the mystery surrounding the diplomatic status of Raymond Davis who shot dead two men in Lahore — but the United States, too, is in a soup, said a Pakistani daily, since “being arrogant will not help the US, instead it will only increase the anti-American sentiment in Pakistan”.

An editorial in the Daily Times Monday said: “Pakistan is in a fix. And all because of a man whose diplomatic status is a mystery that has not been solved yet.

“The Raymond Davis case has landed both Pakistan and the US in the soup. Not only have the Americans postponed an important trilateral meeting that was supposed to take place in Washington between officials from Afghanistan, Pakistan and the US this month, they have also adopted a threatening posture vis–vis Pakistan.”

Davis shot dead two Pakistani men on a motorcycle on a Lahore street Jan 27 after they allegedly brandished weapons. Some reports say the two were Pakistani intelligence operatives tailing him. The American has said he fired in self-defence because he thought the two were robbers.

The incident led to a third death when a speeding US consulate vehicle coming to the rescue of Davis overran another motorcyclist. US officials have threatened to cut off the $1.5 billion in annual aid to Pakistan if Davis was not released and Washington has put bilateral contacts with Islamabad on hold.

The editorial said that former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has “apparently made his party members angry by alleging that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had pressurised him to sign a summary that gave diplomatic immunity to Raymond Davis”.

Observing that it was “strange that neither the Foreign Office nor the government is willing to tell the truth about Raymond Davis’s diplomatic status”, it said that the reason why Islamabad was “hesitant in committing itself to anything could be that it does not want to give the religious right any more fodder to further destabilise the political situation”.

The Taliban have threatened to kill any government official who facilitates the release of Davis.

Going into the background of the present crisis in Pakistan, the editorial said: “The present dispensation is actually reaping the ‘fruits’ of General (retd) Pervez Musharraf’s policies, who gave permission to the Americans to do as they please on our soil.”

“The surreptitious and illegal presence of many CIA spooks and private security contractors is nothing new. It all began during Musharraf’s regime. It is not the first time that such incidents have taken place in Pakistan even though Raymond Davis’s one was a more serious one,” it added.

The editorial made it clear that “the US should understand that Pakistan is its frontline ally in the war on terror and not its enemy”.

“Being arrogant will not help the US, instead it will only increase the anti-American sentiment in Pakistan… It is time to think and act rationally, both by the US and Pakistan.”

Filed under: Diplomacy

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