Wednesday, March 16, 2011

CIA spook Davis freed under Sharia deal

Washington: Raymond Davis, the CIA contractor accused of killing two Pakistani nationals, was released on Wednesday after the victims’ families were given “blood money” in accordance with Islamic law.

The deal brought to an end, for now, an ugly and protracted spat between Pakistan and the United States over a secret war on terror Washington is conducting inside Pakistan,of which Davis was a part. He was flown out of Pakistan immediately. Davis, a former special forces commando posing as an undercover diplomat, shot and killed two Pakistanis, said to be ISI foot soldiers shadowing him, on a busy Lahore street on January 27. He was apprehended before he could escape and a getaway car which came to his rescue ran over and killed a pedestrian in the botched attempt.

It was not clear what the status of that separate hit-and-run case is since US personnel in the getaway car have already left Pakistan. In the weeks since, Davis’ incarceration and trial became an elaborate charade by a weak Pakistani civilian government bowing to the dictates of its hard-line army and jihadi footsoldiers each determined to make capital of the incident, even as Washington raged against the circus. Davis, who was operating under diplomatic cover, was later revealed to be part of a US team investigating Lashkar-e-Taiba operations in Pakistan.

But in a turnaround on Wednesday, a Lahore court released Davis after a deal was brokered with the victims’ families, hours after the same court indicted him for the double murders. The deal reportedly involved a payment of $700,000 as diyat or ‘blood money’ to each victims’ families by way of compensation.

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