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Pakistan Hints at Prisoner Swap for U.S. official

Posted by yourpakistan on February 15, 2011

Source: NBC, and news service

Pakistan’s law minister has hinted that an American embassy official arrested for killing two people could be swapped for neuroscientist imprisoned for trying to kill U.S. interrogators, according to a report.

Asked how to resolve the case of Raymond Davis — who has been held for two weeks in Pakistan after admitting killing men he says were trying to rob him — law minister Babar Awan told reporters that the U.S. had “a repatriation call and we have a call,” the U.K.’s Daily Telegraph newspaper reported.

The Telegraph said Awan was referring to Aafia Siddiqui, 38, who is serving an 86-year sentence in the U.S. However, he didn’t explicitly call for a prisoner exchange.
Story: Q+A: Pakistan, American tensions over shooting hit new heights
Afghan police captured her in Afghanistan in 2008 and prosecutors told her trial that the day after her arrest, she grabbed an M4 rifle and started shooting at U.S. interrogators, yelling “death to America.”

Siddiqui, who holds a doctorate from Brandeis University in Massachusetts, did not hit anyone, but was shot and wounded, according to prosecutors.

“Daughter of the nation”
Her case has become a major issue in Pakistan, where many believe she is innocent. In September 2010, Pakistan’s prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani described her as the “daughter of the nation” and pledged to campaign for her release. The U.S. says Davis shot two robbers in self-defense and that his detention is illegal under international agreements covering diplomats.

That position appeared to win support with a Pakistan government official saying most legal experts in the country’s law and foreign offices believed he did have diplomatic immunity from prosecution. The official said the government would provide a court with documents that reflect that majority consensus later this week. The Pakistani official requested anonymity because of the subject’s sensitivity.
The U.S. Embassy said it was looking into the matter Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Senate Foreign Relations Chairman John Kerry was due to arrive in Pakistan Tuesday night to meet with senior Pakistani government officials, NBC News reported. On Tuesday, an influential Pakistani Islamist party, Jamaat-e-Islami, warned it would hold protests if Davis was released.

The party accused the U.S. of exerting “unprincipled and unlawful” pressure on Pakistan. “Why is America hell bent on trampling on Pakistani law and its judicial system? We will forcefully protest if he is released without a court order,” Jamaat-e-Islami deputy chief Liaquat Baluch told Reuters.

Jamaat-e-Islami and other religious parties don’t win many votes in elections, but the government can’t afford to ignore them. Some members of the Pakistani media, which has in the past accused U.S. aid workers of being spies, have also called for Davis to be put on trial in Pakistan.

Supporters of the men Davis shot dead in the city of Lahore on January 27 have already held protests and burned U.S. flags. Lahore’s police chief called the killings “clear-cut murder”. In addition to the two men shot and killed by Davis, a third man was killed when a vehicle from the U.S. consulate, apparently en route to rescue Davis, struck and killed a passer-by.



One Response to “Pakistan Hints at Prisoner Swap for U.S. official”

  1. […] posted here: Pakistan Hints at Prisoner Swap for U.S. official « Your Pakistan Related Posts:Pakistan Hints at Prisoner Swap for U.S. official « Your Pakistan â€�Why is […]

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