Pakistani court to decide U.S. shooter's fate: PM

08:23, February 22, 2011      

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Pakistan's Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani said on Monday that court will decide whether a U.S. diplomat arrested for killing two Pakistani men is set free, and will not accept any pressure.

Raymond Davis, who works for the U.S. consulate in the east city of Lahore, had shot dead two Pakistanis on Jan. 27, triggering a serious diplomatic row between the two allies.

U.S. President Barack Obama himself asked for the release of Davis, saying he enjoys diplomatic immunity under the Vienna Convention. The U.S. officials oppose the case to be referred to the court.

But Pakistan's Prime Minister told the parliament on Monday evening that the court will decide the fate of the U.S. shooter and that the government will not "compromise on Pakistan's national interests."

Gilani admitted differences with U.S. over the issue of Davis but added that lone issue should not harm relations between the two allies.

Former Pakistani Foreign Minister, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, said last week that experts at the Foreign Ministry were of unanimous opinion that Davis does not entitle to "blanket immunity" as being demanded by the U.S. officials.

The Lahore High Court, which is hearing the case of Davis, has given three-week time to the Foreign Ministry to submit a reply about the diplomatic status of Davis.

The Court has already stopped the government from the release of the American employee and also ordered ban on his leaving Pakistan.

A petition, seeking ban on Davis leaving Pakistan, was moved in the court. The petition said that the accused is using "undercover " name and his real name is different. The petition said that the court must ensure that Davis does not flee Pakistan on other name.

Gilani said that Pakistan and the U.S. are strategic partners, adding that the Davis case is in the court and court will decide it.

The Pakistani government is also under tremendous internal pressure not to compromise on the issue.

Source: Xinhua

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