Free Davis or Pakistani envoy will be booted out: US (Lead)

February 11th, 2011 - 5:53 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington/Islamabad, Feb 11 (IANS) The US has threatened to oust the Pakistani ambassador and close down US consulates in Pakistan if Islamabad does not immediately free Raymond Davis, whose killing of two Pakistanis has sparked a major diplomatic row. ABC News quoted Pakistani officials as saying that Obama’s national security advisor summoned ambassador Husain Haqqani to the White House Monday evening to convey the president’s tough message — free Davis or face the consequences.

Haqqani, however, denied this, saying via Twitter that no US official “has conveyed any personal threats 2 me or spoken of extreme measures”.

The latest twist in the Davis saga came even as the American was remanded to 14 days of judicial remand Friday.

Two Pakistani officials involved in the negotiations about Davis said National Security Advisor Tom Donilon told the envoy that he would be kicked out of the US, American consulates in Pakistan would be shut, and a planned visit by Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari to Washington would be axed if Davis was not released by end of Friday.

The threat had no immediate impact in Pakistan, where Davis was remanded in judicial custody for 14 days. The next hearing will be Feb 25. Davis was immediately moved to the high security Central Jail in Lahore, said police official Suhail Sukhera.

Obama’s reported warning to Pakistan was confirmed to ABC News by a senior US official. White House spokesperson Tommy Vietor declined comment.

Davis shot dead two Pakistani men on motorcycles on a Lahore street Jan 27 after they allegedly brandished weapons.

Some reports say the two were Pakistani intelligence operatives tailing him. The American has said he fired in self-defence because he thought the two were robbers.

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

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

On Sunday, the widow of one of the men shot dead committed suicide. The woman apparently feared that her husband’s killer would be let off by the Pakistan government.

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