Don’t free Davis, warns ex-spy chief (Lead)

February 10th, 2011 - 4:55 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, Feb 10 (IANS/AKI) Former army officers will “take action” against the government if Pakistan releases US official Raymond Davis who shot dead two Pakistanis, ex-spy chief Hamid Gul has warned.”If the government shows any softness in the case of Davis, former army officers would play their role in the defence of national interest,” Gul told some 200 men and women in Islamabad Wednesday.

“Enough is enough! Americans killed our men and yet our government is apologetic,” Gul said.

“We don’t want any hostilities with the US but we warned Americans that do not test our nerves too much,” said the former head of Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) who is known to be bitterly anti-America.

The arrest of Davis, an American employee of the US diplomatic mission in Pakistan, after he shot dead two Pakistani men on a motorcycle Jan 27 in Lahore, has triggered a major row between Washington and Islamabad.

Davis opened fire when the two men, who some reports now say were Pakistani intelligence operatives, came close to his car. The American has said he fired in self-defence because he thought they were robbers.

The incident led to a third death when a speeding vehicle coming to the rescue of Davis overran a motorcyclist.

US officials have threatened to cut the $1.5 billion of annual aid to Pakistan if Davis is not released, and Tuesday put bilateral contacts on hold.

The case took a dramatic turn Sunday when widow of one of the victims of the Lahore shooting, Muhammad Fahim, committed suicide, turning public opinion further against the jailed American.

The woman apparently feared that her husband’s killer would be let off by the Pakistan government.

Media reports say that while the foreign office is urging a moderate line on the issue, the security establishment is dead set against it.

“The whole issue has been mishandled by Americans and by the Pakistani authorities from the very beginning,” Tariq Fatimi, a former Pakistani ambassador to the US, told a TV talk show.

“Raymond was initially described as a technical advisor of the US consulate in Lahore by the American embassy. Then it was claimed that he belonged to the US embassy staff in Islamabad.

“Pakistan has not (been) straightforward about Davis,” Fatimi added.

Davis worked for a private security firm before he went to Pakistan but holds a diplomatic passport. Apparently investigators have seized from him photographs of Pakistani military establishments.

The Davis episode has come at a time of rising public anger against the US, which has stepped up drone attacks in Pakistani territory killing both militants as well as innocent civilians.

–IANS/AKI
rd/mr

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