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Raymond Davis Should Be Defended On Other Grounds Also

By Raza Habib Raja

The recent episodes of Dr Afia and Raymond Davis though apparently different in context and nature have nevertheless highlighted some common traits of Pakistanis and without doubt the biggest one is irrational instinctive patriotism whereby seemingly insignificant events are tied with national honor and sovereignty.

And in Pakistan unfortunately the national sovereignty is measured solely by the degree of rabid anti Americanism whereas honor is irrational patriotism supplemented by other “virtues” such as delusional self importance and deep suspicion of the outside world.

In the case of Dr Afia and Raymond Davis the media is raising voices of opposition not on the basis of facts and principles but solely on the fact that US interests and citizens are involved. Such jingoistic and irrational behavior needs proper counter response. In my opinion the moderates need to give convincing counter arguments which can derail the conservative narrative and expose its contradictions.

It is important to also retain our credibility when presenting our counter opinion. The case of Raymond Davis is right now taking the centre stage. It is clear that he is facing a one sided media trial whereby media and Punjab government are trying to provoke rabid anti Americanism to increase their ratings and extract short sighted political mileage. I think one of the mistakes which we are making is to argue that he is a diplomat and therefore deserves immunity.

US consulate may be correct to adopt this approach (though I think they should also start thinking about changing it or at least supplementing it with other measures) but not local small segment of liberal press.

 Here the issue is that his diplomatic status has been made dubious due to incomplete information and his whereabouts on the day of his murder. Assuming that even he is a diplomat,  the liberal press are not in a position to know his status and also not equipped to successfully convince the general audience about complicated legal things like immunities and diplomatic status. Rather then shouting in return that he is diplomat (for which we have no ways of ascertaining or even if we are able to ascertain then convincing public) the better option would be to stress that he had absolutely nothing to gain from killing Pakistanis. It is blatantly evident that whether he was correct in his perception that the two people were trying to rob him or not, he had nothing personal or professional to gain from killing them. The Punjab police under obvious instructions from the Punjab government have stated that he killed in “cold blood”. I think this is ridiculous and right now our energies should be on exposing this ridiculous assertion which clearly is in contradiction with their earlier stance.

And those men were carrying guns. One might be tempted to ask on media to all those right wingers as to why they were doing that.  Raymond Davis acted in self defense and therefore cannot be called a “terrorist”. Stressing more on this line will perhaps can potentially soften opposition and lead to a fair trial also. Even if he is released without trial the hue and cry would be relatively less. Moreover the issue has been made complicated by the suicide of one of the murdered person’s young widow and with this added complication the diplomatic immunity argument will completely lose any support in the general populace (who already are doubtful about it). I agree with Adil Najam here that right now it is the time to indulge in what is known as public diplomacy rather then throwing up legal terminology and getting stuck in Vienna convention. Trying to forcefully secure his release particularly under the pretext of Vienna convention will only intensify anti Americanism. I think a correct approach on the part of USA also would be to perhaps offer some compensation to the families and stress in public sphere through media that Raymond only acted in self defense and never intended to “murder” those men. This may even lead to an improvement in US image and can lead to a smoother release of Raymond even if eventually diplomatic immunity clause has to be used.

It has to be remembered that we have to ensure continuity of workable diplomatic and bilateral relations with USA apart from release of Raymond. Such relations can only sustain if both countries enjoy good public image among their respective populace. Let’s try to ensure that US image is improved or at least not further deteriorated while striving for Raymond’s release.

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22 Responses to "Raymond Davis Should Be Defended On Other Grounds Also"

  1. Rehmat United States Safari iPad says:

    “the liberal press are not in a position to know his status and also not equipped to successfully convince the general audience about complicated legal things like immunities and diplomatic status”
    So it is now a liberal vs the conservative issue and the liberals stand behind the US wholeheartedly. I guess author has no clue about the liberalism and liberalism has nothing to with US and it’s intelligence operatives all around the world.
    The liberal US blogsphere is not favoring the US on this issue at all. Raymand is clearly an intelligence operative and I fail to fathom why would the Paki liberals would support him. Would they support the ISI operatives caught in the same circumstances outside of Pakistan?
    Anyway, this is not a liberal issue but a section of the media and some folks who can barely be called liberals are supporting the US pov, due to several reasons.

  2. Raza Raja Pakistan Internet Explorer Windows says:

    I have not said that this is liberalism vs conservatism. Kindly open your eyes and read it again. I merely used the word liberal press of Pakistan who are supportive of raymond because they think media is presenting an unfair trial just on the basis of the fact that he is an American. Kindly do not try to teach me liberalism and stick to the core argument if you have bothered to read it

  3. Rehmat United States Safari iPad says:

    By using the phrase “liberal media” you clearly identified support of Raymond as a liberal cause. I asked that rhetorically but let my ask it again, would the liberal media support an ISI operative caught in similar circumstance outside of Pakistan.?
    The article is written to provide support to the US demands, you are just saying that the US now find some other way to deal with this issue. I still don’t get it, what interest liberals like you have in supporting an intelligence operative who needs to show evidence in the court to prove that he acted in self defense.
    A true liberal position should be to let the court decide. Raymond or the US as the Pak FS said, have not shown any conclusive evidence that he has diplomatic immunity. Now liberals should wait for the court’s decision instead of supporting the US State Dept. The pseudo-liberal are supporting the State Dept bullying tactics in the guise of liberalism.

  4. Raj (The Other One) Germany Safari Mac OS says:

    Frankly speaking, I don’t think Mr. Raymond Davis enjoys diplomatic immunity. Diplomatic immunity does not come from possessing a diplomatic passport, but rather from having a diplomatic visa given by the host country – in this case Pakistan.

    If he had enjoyed diplomatic immunity – that means having had a diplomatic visa, he would have long been gone back by now. SMQ has categorically said, that RD was not given any diplomatic visa.

    Now the he could have been given a diplomatic visa by Pakistan Ambassador Hussain Haqqani, but that did not happen when RD traveled to Pakistan, perhaps for reason, that usually one is open about who the various diplomats are at various embassies, but as RD’s presence was not to be publicized too much, one thought otherwise and he did not apply for a diplomatic visa.

    Whatever!

    So Pakistani People should know that Raymond Davis is not a diplomat, does not have diplomatic immunity. And if their Government send back RD, it would be another sign of the Pakistani Government having sold their souls to America.

    The least the Pakistanis should demand in return is the release of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, the daughter of Pakistan.

    If RD is released, it would only encourage Americans to come into Pakistan and shoot Pakistanis at will. The death of two loyal ISI agents who were only doing their patriotic duty of protecting Pakistan’s security interests within Pakistani territory, should not go unavenged. Justice must be done. The courts should be allowed to do their

    [sic]

  5. Raj (The Other One) Germany Safari Mac OS says:

    Raymond Davis’s release would depend not on his diplomatic immunity, of which he has none, but only on strategic considerations of USA and Pakistan.

    So this whole circus that the liberal media is playing out, incl. on PTH around diplomatic immunity has nothing to do with the matter at hand.

    Pakistani Establishment’s strategic consideration is more money for Raymond Davis’s release, and saving some of its Honor & Dignity (H&D) in front of its own populace full of anti-American fervor.

    However as they say beggars can’t be choosers. Pakistani Establishment cum Pakistani Elite have received billions upon billions of dollars which have either gone to the Army or to line the pockets of the Pakistani Elite. Furthermore the relationship with America has given the Pakistanis at least some modicum of acceptability in the civilized world. In this case, Pakistani Elite have everything to lose.

    The Pakistani common people have nothing to lose, because regardless of how much money Pakistan has received from USA, they have seen none of it. All the Pakistani common people have is their sense of honor, and can’t see American intelligence guys come and shoot a few people on their streets. So the Pakistani people are telling the Pakistani Elite, ably represented on the PTH as well, that they are not going to allow Raymond Davis to go scot-free. It is a tussle between the Pakistani Elite and the Pakistani common people.

    It has nothing to do with diplomatic immunity, and everything to do with high-handedness of the Pakistani Elite.

    So now the Pakistani Elite are struck between their patrons, their dollar-givers, the USA, and the Pakistani common people.

    Let’s just say, Pakistani Elite have a lot to lose, and if they do not do it this time, there is always a next time.

  6. Aslam United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    Raj (The Other One)

    His immunity has to be decided by the court now that the Pak Foreign Office has refused to acknowledge it.

    There is a genuine question out there and that is: why some folks are supporting a spy. Why their interest is allied so much with a US spy or an intel operative of the US. This is a shame that they also call themselves liberals at the same time.

  7. Raza Raja Pakistan Internet Explorer Windows says:

    @Rehmat

    Please open your eyes again. I am suggesting that courts should decide it and US should not bully under the pretext of Vienna convention which in any case is doubtful as admitted in the article.
    I am only against this mindset which merely in its anti US zeal tries to whip up needless frenzy. I am sure if raymond had been a saudi spy all this hue and cry would not be there. Pakistanis have a typical knee jerk reaction against US. This article was trtying to suggest an alternative way out. Please let me know where to get a certificate of liberalism from you

  8. Rehmat United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    You have not answered a single question. you have now come out with callous statement that “I am only against this mindset which merely in its anti US zeal tries to whip up needless frenzy.”

    Why is it needless frenzy?Did he not kill two people in Lahore? The Pak Foreign office has not accepted the US claim that he has immunity. Now the court would decide on his claim that he was acting in self defense.
    You are not the only one, this blog has several articles supporting Raymond and it appears to be a concentrated effort on this blog to support a US intelligence operative, why is that? What interest you have with a US intelligence operative. Why are you advising the US what to do in this matter? US sure has competent people to handle this matter legally instead of bullying.

  9. Samachar United States Mozilla Firefox Mac OS says:

    Video: Arnab Goswami on the Raymond Davis issue:
    http://www.timesnow.tv/Debate-Row-over-killer-diplomat/videoshow/4364810.cms

    Interestingly, he reported that his (Indian) viewers were sending in messages in support of Pakistan’s position.

  10. Raza Raja Pakistan Internet Explorer Windows says:

    @ rehmat
    once again read the article. I am saying that US should not bully and shouldn adopt some other way and more acceptable way. If you even bothered to read the article you would have found that i am also doubting the immunity claim. If this appears pro US approach, then so be it.

  11. Raj (The Other One) Germany Safari Mac OS says:

    @Raza Habib Raja,

    Paying compensation to the “victims” or their families is an acknowledgement of guilt. How does that square off with your notion that he acted in “self-defense” and hence cannot be held guilty.

    I also think it is funny to chastise the Pakistani people for showing some spine. You use words like “irrational instinctive patriotism”, “delusional self importance”, “jingoistic and irrational behavior”, etc. to describe the Pakistani national mood.

    All these years the Pakistani common people have seen the Pakistani Elite robbing them of their due share. They have seen how Pakistani Elite have sold Pakistan’s services and even national interests to American diktat – the War on Terror, the drone attacks on Pakistani civilians being prominent examples. The Pakistani common people have not received any of the American largesse that has been showered on the Pakistani Establishment and the Pakistani Elite. The Pakistani common people have had enough of this. The Pakistani Elite have also failed the people in creating opportunities for advancement and prosperity.

    All they have left is Honor and Dignity (H&D). That is all that the Pakistani Elite have been feeding the Pakistani people for the last 63 years. Now you are cursing them for having that too.

    Regards

  12. Raza Raja Pakistan Internet Explorer Windows says:

    Compensation has been suggested as an alternate to bullying and use of Vienna convention. My request to you also is to read the article.

  13. Raj (The Other One) Germany Safari Mac OS says:

    Raza Raja wrote: Compensation has been suggested as an alternate to bullying and use of Vienna convention. My request to you also is to read the article.

    But America has been giving compensation to the Pakistanis in fact in advance. What is the Kerry-Lugar Bill? Does America give that kind of money to Pakistanis because Pakistanis are devout Muslims and invented the Dome? The only reason, Pakistan gets that kind of money is as compensation for the “inconveniences” such as this Raymond Davis shootout! So Pakistan has already received the compensation, you advocate.

  14. bciv United Kingdom Google Chrome Windows says:

    This is all pakistani courts have and should look at when deciding this case: ie under pakistani law, it is not for them to decide.

    s.4 DIPLOMATIC AND CONSULAR PRIVILEGES ACT, 1972
    “If any question arises whether or not any person is entitled to any privilege or immunity under this Act, a certificate issued by or under the authority of the Federal Government stating any fact relating to that question shall be conclusive evidence of that fact.”

  15. AZW Canada Internet Explorer Windows says:

    Rehmat:

    I will try to spell out RHR’s position that I see and completely agree with:

    1) Only courts are to decide whether Raymond Davis has diplomatic immunity or not.

    2) If RD has diplomatic immunity (for which the case is not by any means clear), then he is allowed to walk. This is what comes when nations sign up for the Vienna Convention for diplomats and consular staffs; these conventions allow diplomatic personnel to walk away from prosecution in host countries even when it comes to grievous crimes.

    3) Ideally, even if RD walks away, Pakistani investigators can prepare a case against him and a Grand Jury in US can study if the case merits prosecution in the US. However, the case seems to be severely compromised because it is heavily politicized. Police is changing its own statements; previous suspected robbers who had a police record and had allegedly already robbed others are now being called ISI operatives. The public hysteria sprouting out of rabid anti-Americanism is what will undermine justice, nothing else. This is especially true, if RD is not afforded diplomatic immunity. Imagine any defence attorney questioning the partiality of the investigative team even in the less-than-perfect Pakistani courts. The defence would take investigative team to ample task for polluting a simple investigation because of intense public and political pressure.

    4) But this is exactly what RHR is referring to, and how a complicated situation of RD has the whole country up in arms against a suspected spy and a consular employee. Raymond Davis also need not be publicly lynched as a bullying American cowboy who loves to kill Pakistani motorcycle riders on busy chowks in Lahore. What RHR is clearly pointing out is that RD is tried, convicted and hanged in media already, just because he happens to be an American. The presumed guilt should not be influenced by RD’s nationality. And this is exactly the point that the liberal media should be highlighting.

    5) Since the case is subjudiced, the popular media should better keep its quiet before declaring RD as a trigger-happy cowboy. However, since the mainstream emotionally whipped-up media has not pointed out the red flags that invariably come with the simple narrative that an American ex-Special Forces veteran went on a rampage in Lahore, the least the liberal media can do is to start with a simple question: “What do you do first when you get in a car in Karachi or Lahore?”. We lock our doors first. Because most of us know people (I know three myself) who have had a gun pointed at their heads on a busy intersection, where the rear motorcycle rider simply tells you to give your valuables with the gun firmly pointed at your head. This is why people do not keep expensive watches or rings visible and usually hide their expensive cell phones, while they drive their cars. And in this atmosphere, forgive me for thinking that an American who works in one of the most rabidly anti-American nations in the world, who sits just a few hundred kilometres away from the head of global jihad, and who knows that there is head money for American security personnel offered by the Jihadis, reacts and shoots at the two motorcycle guys who allegedly waved gun at him.

    6) As far as your question goes about a Pakistani ISI personnel shooting down Americans in broad day light, the ISI operative will (should) walk away if he has the diplomatic immunity. A certain individual named Muhammad Arshad Cheema indeed did walk away from Nepal without any prosecution after he was discovered with 16 kg of RDX (http://www.hinduonnet.com/fline/fl1809/18091260.htm). This was a rather serious charge don’t you think? 16 kg of RDX can kill a lot more people. Diplomatic immunities are indeed messy and often unfair affairs.

  16. KP Canada Google Chrome Windows says:

    @ bciv

    Very true about the said law … but at the same time Article 39 of the same act has to be kept in mind.

    ARTICLE 39
    1. Every person entitled to privileges and immunities shall enjoy them from the moment he enters the territory of the receiving State on proceeding to take up his post or, if already in its territory, from the moment when his appointment is notified to the Ministry for Foreign Affairrs or such other Ministry as may be agreed.

    So if US has informed ministry of foreign affairs of his appointment, he gets immunity. No need for a diplomatic visa. This is as per Pakistani Law and not Vienna Convention.

  17. Raza Raja Pakistan Internet Explorer Windows says:

    @ AZW

    Thanks you have wonderfully articulated

  18. bciv United Kingdom Google Chrome Windows says:

    KP

    I quoted the domestic law. you are quoting the effective int’l law. there is no article 39 in the relevant domestic law. lets not confuse the two. but you are right that since DACP 1972 unequivocally ratifies the two vienna conventions, what you quote is effectively pakistani law.

    if the letter of 20the jan from the US embassy in islamabad to the FO being shown on pakistani media is authentic, then the requirements of article 39 of the vienna convention on diplomatic relations of 1961, that you have quoted, have been met.

    under pakistani law, as quoted (s.4, DACP 1972), it is NOT for the courts to decide whether any person has diplomatic (or, for that matter, consular) immunity.

  19. KP Canada Google Chrome Windows says:

    @ bciv
    KP
    I quoted the domestic law. you are quoting the effective int’l law. there is no article 39 in the relevant domestic law

    Read for yourself … domestic Pakistani law article 39 http://www.fbr.gov.pk/newcu/sros/1970sro53cu.htm

  20. bciv United Kingdom Google Chrome Windows says:

    KP

    its a matter of minor detail only. the DACP 1972 has only six sections/articles.

    section 2 of DACP 1972 says:”Provisions of Conventions to have force of law.- (1) Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in any other law for the time being in force, the provisions of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, 1961, set out in the First Schedule and the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, 1963, set out in the Second Schedule shall, subject to the other provisions of this Act, have the force of law in Pakistan.” [ emphasis added]

    you are quoting article 39 from within schedule 1 (“THE FIRST SCHEDULE
    [See section 2 (1)]“). it is part of the convention of 1961.

    section 2 above is what gives both the vienna conventions the power of law in pakistan, ie the ratification.

    you are right about the visa too. that is issued by the interior ministry and has nothing to do with the FO. section 4 of DACP 1972 designates the FO as the final arbitrator of any question relating to immunity. i hope the court will order the FO to do its legal duty under section 4. however, i doubt the court would do that.

  21. libertarian United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    @Raza Raja: do you have a clue how stupid Pakistan and Pakistanis look to the outside world because of Raymond Davis? Here’s what WSJ had to say about it: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703786804576138080590298272.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

    That the US is pulling the trilateral talks, reviewing aid, and will act with no limit till Davis is let go, should give Pakistanis a sense for just how serious this is. This is on par with Iran in 1979. Pakistan is rapidly heading into pariah status with Iran and North Korea.

  22. Akber Ali United States Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    let me help all of you. Do you any one of you know that the diplomatic immunity is available only when you are on a diplomatic mission i.e. you are performing official diplomatic job.
    There is a US court verdict available as well, which says that “Immunity is available if and only when you are performing official duty”.
    So the point is that What Diplomatic Duty Mr. Raymod was performing at the time of this brutal killing.

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