Jamaat-e-Islami protests against lingering Davis issue

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LAHORE – The Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) organised a protest and sit-in at the Qurtaba Chowk on Friday against the federal and Punjab government’s inability to handle the case of US national Raymond Davis.
The protesters were carrying placards and chanted anti-US slogans while they also burnt an effigy of Davis. “Rulers are the slaves of the US, we ask the army and ISI to break the net of US spies in the country, as they are thousands in numbers. President Zardari never dared to utter the name of Dr Aafia while the Punjab government is also on the same page, as it has failed to arrest the American who mercilessly crushed Ibadur Rehman,” JI chief Munawar Hassan said.
He asked the Punjab government that if the US Consulate, Lahore refuses to hand over the killers of Ebad, Punjab CM Shahbaz Sharif and the governor should ensure registration of an FIR against the US Lahore counsel general otherwise the JI would surround the US consulate and take help of the judiciary in this regard. JI Secretary General Liaqat Baloch said that Davis is a CIA and Blackwater agent and the rulers would have to face the consequences if they dared to release him.
JI Punjab chief Waseem Akhtar and former member of the National Assembly (MNA) Hafiz Silman Butt also addressed the protesters. A delegation of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI), the Khaksar Tehreek, Relatives of Davis’ victims Fahim, Faizan and Ibad, leaders of various traders’ organisations and workers of the JI’s student wing Islami Jamiat Talba (IJT) were also present on the occasion.
The US is exerting immense pressure on both the federal and Punjab governments to release Davis citing diplomatic immunity. Both the governments have taken the stance that the matter is in court and they could not do anything until the court decides the matter. Various US politicians including former Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry visited Pakistan to compel the government to release Davis but the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP)-led federal government stood its ground and Kerry had to return empty handed.
According to some analysts, if the issue is not resolved soon it could take its toll on US-Pak relations, which are vital for fighting the war against terrorism.