Worried Pak eyeing other aid avenues to minimize consequences of US standoff

Monday, February 14, 2011

ISLAMABAD - Taking note of the possible consequences of the standoff between Pakistan and the United States over double murder-accused US official Raymond Davis, Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani have reportedly decided to look for alternatives, if the US suspends civilian assistance under Kerry-Lugar act programme.

According to the Nation, Zardari and Gilani are worried that the economic implications of the face-off would make things more complicated for the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP)-led ruling coalition in making its next budget.

Sources said that one of the potential alternatives considered by the two leaders was to cultivate and capitalize on Pakistan’s relations with the member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council.

They said that the government has decided to start work on the option with Gilani’s visit to Kuwait, which starts today. It would be followed by the visit of Zardari.

Similarly, the Presidency and Foreign Office are finalizing Zardari’s visit to Japan with special focus on securing more economic assistance.

Despite the US insisting that Pakistan should free Davis as he is entitled to “full immunity from criminal prosecution by Pakistan” under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961, he was remanded in judicial custody for 14 days on February 11, with the next hearing due on February 25. (ANI)

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