US’ repeated demand for Davis’ release complicating issue

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ISLAMABAD – Taking strong exception to the growing US pressure for the release of its citizen Raymond Davis, who was arrested last month in Lahore for killing two Pakistanis, Islamabad has conveyed to Washington that its repeated demands are proving to be counterproductive and are complicating the issue.
Pakistani authorities are highly perturbed that the Obama administration is least bothered about the rising anti-American sentiments in Pakistan, especially the rage after the killing of two Pakistanis by Davis and the suicide of the widow of one of the victims. They believe that it is further complicating the case and is not of any help as for the attempts to get him released.
“Washington is making strong demands to Islamabad to release Davis as he is entitled to diplomatic immunity coupled with stern actions like cutting off diplomatic contacts and postponing visits of its officials to Pakistan and all this is like adding fuel to the fire,” a senior official said on Tuesday.
“Our repeated advice to the Americans to be patient and let the courts decide this matter and also that Islamabad is willing to come up with immunity for Davis but all this is has no impact on the Obama administration and they are mounting the pressure with each passing day,” he said. He said the Pakistani government could not release the detained American on its own by ignoring the court proceedings as that would have serious political fallout, something almost impossible to be controlled by the government.
Despite, the prevailing tension and stress in their ties, Pakistan and the US on Tuesday opted for a reconciliatory tone with Pakistani Foreign Ministry and the US embassy in Islamabad both denying suspension of contacts and dialogue and expressing resolve to settle the Davis’s issue amicably. US embassy spokeswoman Courtney Beale denied that there was any suspension of high-level dialogue with Pakistan over Davis’ case.
“This is not true as the US is engaged with Pakistan in resolving the Davis’s issue,” she said. She said the Davis’s issue would not impact the relations between the United States and Pakistan. In a statement, Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit said the relations between Pakistan and the US were anchored in mutual interest and mutual respect.
“Both countries are committed to further strengthening the bilateral relationship to our mutual benefit,” he said. “Our relations are mature enough to navigate through difficulties. We must not lose focus of the strategic imperatives of Pak-US relations,” Basit said.