Pakistan court may deliver verdict on U.S. shooter's status

15:22, March 14, 2011      

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A Pakistani judge is likely to deliver a verdict on Monday whether or not a CIA contractor, who has killed two Pakistanis, has diplomatic immunity, local sources said.

Last month, the Lahore High Court had given a three-week time to the federal government to reply by March 14 if Raymond Davis is entitled to diplomatic immunity.

The Foreign Ministry had sought the time and a reply is possible later on Monday when the court resumes hearing.

Former Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that the Foreign Ministry officials had told him at an exclusive briefing that Davis does not enjoy "blanket immunity" as claimed by the U.S. embassy

The incident case has soured relations with the United States and become a highly emotive issue in Pakistan. Pakistani and the U. S. media report that the U.S. shooter is a CIA contractor and had been on a mission in the country. Reports said that Pakistan's intelligence officials have asked the CIA to provide details of its agents in Pakistan.

The judge will hear the case in a jail in Lahore, the capital of eastern Punjab province, where he had shot dead two Pakistanis on Jan. 27. Another Pakistani was crushed to death by a U.S. consulate car when it reached to help Davis.

Pakistani authorities have asked for the consulate vehicle and its driver to be handed over, but the U.S. media reported that the driver has already reached the U.S. to avoid trial in Pakistan.

The government is under pressure in the country not to bow to the U.S. pressure and let the court decide the fate of the CIA agent.

Raymond Davis had claimed that he had fired in self-defense, the notion rejected by the police investigators, who argued that he intentionally killed the two men.

The U.S. calls for the release of Davis and even U.S. President Barack Obama also said last month that Davis should have diplomatic immunity. The president had stated that it would be untenable if diplomats were prosecuted.

The U.S. had also sent influential Senator John Kerry to Pakistan who met President Asif Ali Zardari in a bid to defuse tensions over the issue.

Source: Xinhua

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