GUILTY OR NOT GUILTY?
by Nayyar Hashmey
By every passing day, the case of Raymond Davis, [a pseudonym he has been using while he was moving around Mozang Chungi in Lahore on an errand which is till dubious] is getting shrouded in more secrets, more mysteries.
There are two sides [in Pakistan], one that finds him a man on diplomatic assignment and therefore entitled to claim immunity [even though he has reportedly been found to have indulged in the cold blooded murder of two Pakistanis]. The other side believes he is a murderer and therefore straightway be hanged in the public. Both sides ignore the very fact that emotions aside, no one should be above the perimeters of law. Raymond Davis is accused of murdering two Pakistanis, but this has to be proved yet in a court of law. He therefore deserves the right of being tried in a court and to defend himself. If found guilty and awarded s punishment which is normally decided for a committed murderer, let him have this and face consequences of such a punishment. But if the court finds him not guilty i.e. he shot those two Pakistanis in self defense, he then has every right to be free like any other person in Pakistan.
Apart from these considerations, there are some facts too which need a serious consideration.
In this regard, here is my take from a column by Ejaz Haider in the daily Express Tribune. In Jan. 31, 2011 issue of the paper writes Haider and I “quote”:
Two boys shot dead by Raymond Davis, an American national, in the Mozang area of Lahore; one biker crushed to death by a speeding US consulate vehicle that arrives on the scene presumably to rescue Davis, who tries to escape but is captured. The consulate vehicle escapes after overrunning the unfortunate biker.
The incident has left a trail of three bodies and several questions.
Who is Davis — accredited diplomat or a civilian contracted by the US consulate for ‘technical advice’, a term that can cover a broad range of activities? Why was he carrying a pistol, a Glock 17 I am told, which is a 9mm semi-automatic weapon that packs the punch with 17 rounds in a standard magazine. It is used by pros and Davis does seem like one.
Why did Davis try to run away from the scene after displaying the calm ability to shoot a pistol with a steady hand, get out of the car, make a video of the bodies, and talk to someone on the wireless?
From what’s known so far, it does not appear that the killed boys intended to shoot Davis. They were carrying local-made pistols (terrible choice); one didn’t have bullets in it, while the other had five rounds of local ammo, another bad amateur choice. There is no indication that they tried to fire at Davis. It is interesting to note where Davis fired from, in what direction and where the boys took the bullets.
Davis fired from inside his car, slightly above the steering wheel and towards the right. That would mean the boys were parked ahead of his car, probably close to the right edge of the bonnet. Not exactly the right place if you want to shoot down a driver. Most of the bullets, it appears from the autopsy, entered their bodies from the back — that would mean they were facing away from the shooter, or were trying to escape at the time they were shot down. If this is correct then, at least at the moment Davis shot them, they were not a threat to his life. Itchy fingers perhaps?
One source told me the ammo he used was hollow-point; another says it was ballpoint. With hollow-point the boys stood no chance at all. The round enters the body and flattens, causing terrible tissue damage.
Glock pistols have a two-stage trigger safety mechanism because there is no external safety catch. The weapon will fire when the trigger is depressed normally beyond the first stage afforded by the internal trigger safety mechanism. Why did he fire 7 shots if the idea was to incapacitate? Since Davis has claimed self-defence he will have to prove that his life was in grave danger when he shot the boys.
People are angry. There is a sense, not entirely wrong, that Americans act haughty, even though the blame for this must go to Pakistani governments. If the governments fail to observe the protocols, too eager to roll out the red carpet even for lower ranking American officials, one can’t blame the Americans for taking Pakistan for granted.
Consider the attitude of the public affairs officers at the US embassy and the consulate in Lahore. They have refused to ID Davis. Instead of helping in investigating the killing of three Pakistanis, the US embassy has now demanded that this guy be immediately released. And pray, how and why, unless all these questions are answered? The government should clarify when, how, why, and if at all, a foreign national can carry a weapon? What exactly is the status of this man, his ID and the nature of his work here? What is the protocol for the movement of American nationals, whether in official or personal capacity? Are the Americans using SOPs for their protection that may violate local laws? If so, why?
The government should set up a website, giving information on all legal and other questions thrown up by this violent incident. It must also tell the people why the US embassy has made such a demand. The US government cannot spring the guy until all legal issues are settled. Neither can the federal and Punjab governments afford to let him walk away just like that. “Unquote”
Much has been said also about his diplomatic immunity. Its not yet established that he enjoyed the status of a diplomat, but even if it was, we shouldn’t forget that here in this very Pakistan we already have had the case of Mullah Abdus Salam Zaeef who was apprehended in broad daylight, sent to Gitmo and then released. He was not only a diplomat but fully accredited ambassador of an independent country.
Then a reader of this blog also says that Davis enjoyed the diplomatic immunity. To strengthen his claim, he cites the case of Daniel Pearl about whom he says he was murdered because he had no weapon with him.
To argue that somebody was murdered in Karachi doesn’t mean that everybody should start carrying a gun to defend him / herself. This applies to Pakistan as it applies as well to the United States of America. If there be a murder in the US that won’t mean all Americans should start carrying guns. There is a procedure here in Pakistan as well as almost in every other country in the world and this procedure applies to Raymond Davis too. He could also apply for a gun license, but in the present case he had a gun which was not licensed and this gun too was not of an ordinary type but was a type used by pros and the military .Question is not that he had a weapon, question is that he had a weapon which was unlicensed. If under the simple pretext of one’s fear from ordinary citizens of Pakistan one starts carrying guns then every foreigner should be carrying guns to defend himself, which means there will not be a rule of law but a rule of the gun.
If all diplomats are free from prosecution that doesn’t mean a diplomat should start killing others. This was the reason the Georgian diplomat who killed an American girl was prosecuted by the United States authorities, awarded a punishment and he did complete his sentence in the United States. The law is applicable to all, whether of US or of Pakistan or of Georgia.
There were people who witnessed the whole scene and Raymond Davis himself admitted to the fact.
The boys did have guns as has been reported. Agreed if at all he was trying to defend himself, he could have fired on their legs to cripple them, instead of taking their life altogether.
There are gun control laws prevailing in this country but an absolute control on weapons in Pakistan too is not an easy thing as it also is not the case elsewhere.
So its in such contexts that I selected some more posts in the series. Go through these articles and decide yourself what is right, what’s wrong. [Nayyar]
1. The Deepening Mystery of Raymond Davis and Two Slain Pakistani Motorcyclists 2. Raymond Davis Case: Obama Fires Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Qureshi 3. Pakistan: walking a tightrope 4. Raymond Davis, Murder and Vienna Convention 1961 5. The (Very) Strange Case of Raymond Davis 6. Senators oppose US gunman`s release 7. Raymond Davis Incident
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