Pakistan News: Pakistan People’s Party’s Information Secretary Fauzia Wahab said on Monday that US national Raymond Davis had a diplomatic visa and he could neither be arrested nor kept in custody under the Vienna Convention.
“He (Davis) is a technical member of the US embassy’s diplomatic staff and according to Pakistani laws, any diplomat and technical or administrative staff cannot be arrested or taken into custody,” she told reporters at the Karachi Press Club.
But when she was about to board her car she received a phone call and immediately ‘clarified’ that whatever she had said about the status of Davis was her personal opinion and not the policy of the party.
The PPP leader came to the club with a copy of Pakistan Law Digest (PLD) in her hand. When asked about it, she said she came prepared for
questions she knew would be asked on the issue of Raymond Davis and his diplomatic status.
She said that Article 29 of the PLD 1972 stated that no diplomat could be arrested or taken into custody and under Article 37-II, technical and administration staff of an embassy also enjoyed diplomatic immunity.
“We are law-abiding people and we have to prove things practically. The issue of Davis is of extremely sensitive nature, but we have to keep in mind the law of the land.”
Ms Wahab said that being a signatory to the Vienna Convention, Pakistan was committed to abiding by the international laws which provided immunity to diplomatic and technical staff of an embassy.
Besides, she said, the US was the largest market of Pakistani products and exports to that country stood at $4 billion. Over one million Pakistanis who lived in America sent remittances to support the country’s economy, she added.
Ms Wahab said the Davis issue had to be taken up carefully in view of the nature of Pakistan-US relations. Answering a question about Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s exclusion from the federal cabinet, she said the former foreign minister had violated the party’s policy and rules.
About Mr Qureshi’s relations with former president Pervez Musharraf and his role in arranging talks between the general and Benazir Bhutto, she said Mr Qureshi had no role in the talks. Besides, she said, those talks had failed.
When asked about the appointment of Hina Rabbani Khar as minister of state for foreign affairs, Mr Wahab said that for a government what mattered was policy, and not individuals, adding that the former minister of state for finance had been given the new responsibility in line with the party’s policy.
AFP adds: President Asif Ali Zardari’s spokesman Farhatullah Babar dismissed Ms Wahab’s statement, saying that it was her personal view.
“This is neither the policy of the party nor the government,” Mr Babar said.
He said the government and the PPP had “made it very clear that Raymond Davis’ case is before court and the court will decide the issue”.
Source: Dawn News