That the Raymond Davis case has not been handled to the satisfaction of the Pakistani public is a fact; that both the respective governments are satisfied with the outcome of these proceedings is a fact; not everything else, however, is.

Reaction to Raymond Davis in Pakistan

To date, nobody except perhaps the upper echelons of the respective intelligence agencies and governments is aware of the exact details or the factual intricacies of the case. The fact that the nature of the accused’s visa is still unclear itself speaks volumes of this overhanging uncertainty. For a matter such as this, which has taken the front seat of an entire country’s politics, transparency is of utmost importance – if for nothing else, to make an interesting case study.

This, however, has not been the case so far. While the issue has died down in the US media and the US government is done and dusted with the matter, in Pakistan it is only changing into more interesting gears. Amidst strikes, protests, impassioned speeches and loud television anchors, the Raymond Davis case has seen itself turn into a lasting legacy of the current national and provincial governments from just another issue in the national limelight. Facts, however, are still not forthcoming despite this immense pressure. Opinions, on the other hand, have been plenty.

It is still unclear as to what precise course of action was pursued in what was one of Pakistani history’s fastest bails in a murder case. It is also not very clear who paid the blood money to the families of the victims, the only two likely runners for this being the Pakistan Government or the convicted himself. It also still remains to be resolved where the affected families are, or whether they were made to accept the blood money and grant pardon under duress – or whether they even granted pardon for that matter. It is also still very much in the hypothetical air, sarcastically speaking, as to why the Pakistan Government did not press espionage charges against the accused despite over whelming evidence – in which case, a release would have been very difficult to arrange for Raymond Davis. And then of course, there is the perennial open mystery, did Raymond Davis even enjoy any form of diplomatic immunity.

These are all important questions that need to be answered, questions that have been buried in the excess of ensuing rhetoric, questions that the Pakistani people deserve answered.

Legally, the blood money for murder – under Pakistani Law – is to be paid either by the convict or a close relative or a close associate with a proven professional or personal relationship. Under the before given, what message is the Pakistani Government giving if it has indeed paid the blood money. More importantly, since this money comes from the government coffers, filled by the hard earned tax payers’ money, what exactly has the honorable Government of Pakistan made the entire nation a party to in committing this most noble of deeds. It is also very unlikely that Raymond Davis could have arranged for the money himself – a $2.3 million cash stack – in negations lasting roughly 4 purported hours. Who paid the money, and what does it signify?

It is also still unclear as to how exactly were the negotiations completed, the court proceedings processed, a decision given, a bail granted and a chartered flight arranged within a short three hours or four, speaking generously – all without the seeming knowledge of both the federal and provincial governments. Was the process transparent? Were the pardon statements taken under duress, and by whom? In which case, why wasn’t a counter complaint filed by the victims against the state? More importantly, were they allowed to do so? Did the victims’ families even receive the blood money and regardless of whether they did or did not, where are they now?

State involvement is a given in all of the above. Without the Punjab Police abetting, the lawyers or the victims’ families could obviously not have been held in a jail within the Police’s jurisdiction. A chartered flight could not have been arranged without the knowledge of the federal government, neither could Raymond Davis have left had his name been on the ECL – something that falls within the federal government’s power. Why this was not done, nobody needs to guess. Similarly, if the money was paid from either the federal or the provincial governments’ coffers, then they are obviously a party to the proceedings. In either case, denial of involvement by both is actually not adding insult to the peoples’ injury. Why you ask? This is because things have come to a point where nothing the governments do can aggravate the situation any further. It can’t get any worse, proverbially speaking.

And the issue that has been buried deep amidst all the vendetta being pursued by the various parties involved – the most important question of all – still remains unanswered. Why wasn’t Raymond Davis tried for espionage despite the overwhelming evidence against him? For a minute, let’s forget that he was also given the smallest possible sentence for publicly carrying, and using, illegal arms in a foreign country. Following the preceding pattern of events, it is ironic to say that the federal government – the affected party in this case – denied knowledge of any such facet of the matter until it was too late. Had such a case been filed and such charges pressed by the state, release for Raymond Davis under any legal counsel would have been very unlikely. Why it was not done is nobody’s guess in this cat and mouse game. It is the moral, if not legal, obligation of the state to the people who voted it into power, to have pressed such charges.

Amidst the whirling chaos surrounding the case, where facts have been deliberately mixed with purposeful rhetoric and reasonable questions and valid arguments turned into baseless political ones, need there be any more questions? Should we even bother asking whether Raymond Davis even enjoyed any form of immunity or not? No. Because however obvious they may be, answers will not be forthcoming.

The Raymond Davis case, in this regard, is not very different from the case of the missing mango crates on General Zia’s plane when the plane blew up mid-flight. Everybody knows what happened to them, but nobody is willing – to date – to disclose where they went, or what their fate was. The humor, like always, is in the irony.


Published on Back to Pakistan