(CNSNews.com) – Pakistani media early Wednesday cited official sources as saying the government had decided late Tuesday night to hand over a detained American official who was on trial for murder, after President Obama added his voice to the administration’s calls for Pakistan to free him.
A private television channel said the foreign ministry had sent a letter to the interior ministry, confirming its view that Raymond Davis was a diplomat and therefore entitled to immunity under international convention.
Pressing for his release, the administration has been applying pressure on
In addition to sending a chill through bilateral relations, the
The episode has stoked religious and nationalist fervor in
Officials have been sending mixed messages for days, and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani said during a visit to
A day earlier, the spokesperson for the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Fauzia Wahab, told reporters in
Her words unleashed a furor, and President Asif Ali Zardari’s spokesman Farhatullah Babar, in a statement posted on the president’s Web site, said Wahab’s position was neither government nor PPP policy.
In further fallout, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, who had taken much of the heat from
A leading Pakistani journalist, Mohammad Malick, described a meeting at the presidency at which Qureshi had reportedly come under pressure from the president, prime minister and senior ministers to change his stance on
Malick wrote that Qureshi had “flatly refused and even said that if need be, he’d rather resign than become an accessory to multiple murder.”
Following Qureshi’s departure and amid signs of a softening in the government’s stance, a spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban, Azam Tariq, told the French news agency AFP the group would target the country’s leaders if
“We demand that the Pakistani government hang Raymond Davis or otherwise hand him over to us,” Tariq was quoted as saying. “We will decide his fate.”
Munawar Hasan, leader of the Islamist party Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), told a rally in
Hasan told the gathering that anyone who sides with the
Another JI leader, Secretary-General Liaquat Baloch, declared during the protest that if the country’s leaders freed
Bahukutumbi Raman, a regional security analyst and former Indian counterterrorism official, warned on the possibility of a “mass uprising” in
“In Pakistan, large sections of the population – including the youth – are showing signs of getting fed up with the way they think the U.S. has been treating their country,” said Raman, who criticized the State Department’s handling of the case.
Raman said the use of pilotless drones to target terror suspects along the border with
In contrast, “the anger over the