Raymond Davis: Pakistan Delays Ruling on Jailed American

Article excerpt

A Pakistani court has given the government three weeks to decide whether Raymond Davis, a US official accused of killing two Pakistanis, has diplomatic immunity. The case has brought US- Pakistan relations to a new low.

A Pakistani court Thursday delayed a highly anticipated decision on whether Raymond Davis, the US official charged with murdering two Pakistanis, is entitled to diplomatic immunity. The delay threatens to prolong a dispute that has brought relations between the US and Pakistan, a key ally, to a new low.

"As the deputy attorney general has requested three weeks to submit a reply on the status of Raymond Davis, the case is adjourned until March 14," Lahore High Court Chief Justice Ejaz Mohammad Chaudhry told the court.

The three-week delay, requested by Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs so it could further investigate the status of Mr. Davis, could harm everything from US aid to Pakistan, to military cooperation in a relationship that is already difficult.

The row has led to an intervention by President Obama, who on Tuesday said the US expects Pakistan to abide by its obligations to the Vienna Conventions, which governs diplomatic immunity.

The US also sent Sen. John Kerry (D) of Massachusetts, who is Chairman of the Senate's Foreign Relations Committee, to come work on a swift resolution. He assured Pakistan that Davis would face criminal charges at home if deported.

The Raymond Davis case: how it's playing out

Davis was arrested last month for shooting two men on motorcycle from his car in a lower-middle class area of Lahore. A third man was killed after being struck by a US diplomatic vehicle sent to assist Davis. Davis claimed self defense, though police officials have disputed that claim, saying that he shot his victims in the back.

The incident sparked widespread protests and has played into the hands of conservative religious parties. Many Pakistanis believe he is a US spy. It has dominated headlines, which have focused on the fact that Davis had surveillance equipment and an unlicensed semiautomatic weapon on him at the time of his arrest. …