Thursday, February 17, 2011

Pakistan court delays Davis case

Lahore: A Pakistani court delayed a hearing on Thursday on whether Raymond Davis, a US Embassy worker detained for fatally shooting two Pakistani men, has diplomatic immunity. The decision came a day after a visiting US senator pressed for a quick resolution to avert a meltdown in the countries’ relations. 
   The chief justice of the Lahore High Court agreed to a government request for a three-week delay to allow it more time to prepare its position on the issue of immunity. The hearing was rescheduled for March 14.
   The case is straining Washington’s already troubled relationship with Pakistan, a key partner in the war in Afghanistan and in battling al-Qaida and other Islamic militant networks.
   The US says Davis shot two armed Pakistani men in self-defense as they tried to rob him, and that his detention is illegal under international agreements covering diplomats.
   Pakistani leaders, fearful of stoking more outrage in a public already rife with anti-US sentiment, have said the matter is up to the courts to decide.
   Pakistan’s federal government also will submit an opinion on the matter and has asked the court for more time to prepare, deputy attorney general Naveed Inayat Malik said.
   He did not elaborate. It was not immediately clear why the government needed the extra time. 

Pak foreign office spokesman ousted
In a sudden development, Pakistan’s foreign office has replaced its spokesman Abdul Basit, who was today appointed to the post of additional secretary (Europe). Tehmina Janjua, a senior diplomat, was named as the foreign office’s new spokesperson. She was serving as director general in the foreign secretary’s office. Basit will also look after the affairs of the Friends of Democratic Pakistan Forum, officials said. Basit was in line for an ambassadorial posting for some time. PTI

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