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Punjab government had nothing to do with Raymond Davis case: Shehbaz Sharif | Pakistan

Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif said on Sunday that the provincial government had nothing to do with the Raymond Davis saga.

He was speaking to the media during an official meeting in Lahore. Shehbaz also clarified that the Punjab government had nothing to do with paying the Diyat money for Davis.

He said questions related to Davis should be asked from those mentioned in the CIA contractor’s book.

Interestingly, Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah said on Saturday there was pressure to not register an FIR against Davis after he had shot dead two men in January 27, 2011 but the Punjab government went on with it and lodged a case. 

Sanaullah also called for the formation of a joint investigation team (JIT) to ascertain who paid Rs240 million to pay the heirs of victims of CIA contractor as per the Diyat law.

He was talking in Geo News programme JIRGA on Saturday night. 

Speaking in the programme, Pakistan Peoples Party’s Qamar Zaman Kaira said the US government had attempted to pressurise the then federal and Punjab governments, as well as the army, to release Davis. But the central role played in this entire episode was by the country’s ‘agencies’, he added.

Kaira admitted that the Diyat money was channeled through the federal government but was later refunded by ‘whosoever’ paid for it.

Defence analyst Lt Gen (retd) Amjad Shoaib claimed the decision to release Davis was taken by the civilian government and then ISI chief Lt Gen Shuja Pasha was asked to implement it.

The ISI chief held meetings with the entire political leadership of the country — excluding Nawaz Sharif who was not in the country at the time — which agreed that Davis’s release is the best way forward.

Lt Gen (retd) Shoaib also rejected Davis’s claim that the ISI chief was text messaging senior US government officials while Davis’s final hearing was taking place on March 16, 2011. He said Pasha never went to the hearing, adding that ISI officers, were, however present inside the court.

Davis recently released his tell-all tale, titled The Contractor: How I Landed in a Pakistani Prison and Ignited a Diplomatic Crisis.

‘Displeased with Shah Mahmood Qureshi’

In his book, Davis has expressed displeasure at then foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s decision to not grant diplomatic immunity to him.

Even though then US Secretary of State John Kerry considered Qureshi a friend, he [Qureshi] did not help me out, writes Davis.

“When Kerry flew to Pakistan on February 15, 2011, to attempt to broker a deal that might spring me from the Lahore prison where I was being detained on judicial remand, Qureshi didn’t act like much of a friend. Rather than giving in to the government’s wish that I be granted diplomatic immunity, he’d actually resigned his position three days after the incident at Mozang Chowk, and two weeks later he remained undeterred,” says Davis in his book.

In a meeting of top Pakistani officials, both President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani tried to convince Qureshi to change his hardline stance, but he said in a press conference the next day that he would not budge, Davis added. 

Davis recounts tale 

In an interview to Dailymail, Davis said he was never harmed during his incarceration by the Pakistani authorities.

He said he was provided chicken curry to eat twice a day, which was ‘nothing less than torture’.

The light in the cell was kept on all day and night, which made sleeping difficult. Moreover, no heater was provided nor hot water, which made life difficult in the cold weather, he said.

He said the Pakistan government paid the Diyat money to the victims, which was later reimbursed by the US government. 

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