All eyes on Saudi role in resolving US-Pak diplomatic row over Davis’ detention

March 9th, 2011 - 2:02 pm ICT by ANI  

Yousuf Raza Gilani Islamabad, Mar 9(ANI): In the wake of the US-Pakistan diplomatic standoff over the Raymond Davis issue, all eyes are on Saudi Arabia for its possible role in resolving the dispute by coming up with a face-saving formula for both parties.

If it comes up with a solution based on Islamic injunctions, which cannot be challenged by Pakistani hard-liners, Jeddah will be doing what it has done several times in the past- bailing the US and Pakistan out of difficult situations.

US Special Representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan Marc Grossman raised the Davis issue during his visit to Jeddah on March 3. Diplomatic sources confided that Grossman raised the issue of Qisas and Diyat with the Saudi authorities on the sidelines of the International Contact Group (ICG) meeting, The News reports.

Under Islamic law, the punishment for murder, homicide or infliction of injury can either be in the form of qisas- equal punishment for the crime committed, or diyat- compensation payable to the victims or their legal heirs.

A spokesman at the US Embassy said: “We are working with Pakistan to find a solution and resolve this matter but I could not tell you about (Grossman’s Saudi meeting on Davis) and it would be inappropriate for me to comment”.

It is noteworthy that at the end of February, Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari had met with Saudi Prince Naif on the sidelines of the Kuwati celebrations and the Davis issue came up for discussion, diplomatic sources confided. Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has also said that the “Saudi” option remains open.

Diplomatic sources from Washington said: “Initially Washington was in touch with the UAE authorities to prevail upon Zardari as they enjoy close relations. Apparently this did not work so the next stop was Riyadh”.The diplomat stressed that the Saudi monarchy can prevail upon the Pakistani military, the clergy and the government, and the only way out at present is the Qisas and Diyat approach, as the courts would also abide by the Islamic injunctions.”The military is miffed with the CIA for taking them for a ride but they also realise the gravity of the situation if the standoff between Islamabad and Washington continues. It is the clergy which has the street power, but once the Saudi clergy prevails upon the mullahs here, a lot of give and take can take place”, said the diplomat.Intelligence sources said that the legal heirs of the two men killed by Davis would find it difficult to refuse requests either by the Saudi officials or Saudi clergy, and could be convinced to resolve the issue.”But this also involves shifting these heirs outside Pakistan and providing them with a comfort zone including means of a livelihood. The blood money resolution would also ensure that abiding by the Islamic tradition there would be less public and politic pressure on the government,” the official said. (ANI)

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