Islamabad/Washington: The release of Raymond Davis, an
American who killed two men in Lahore, was based on a clandestine
deal struck between Pakistan's spy agency ISI and the American CIA
as the US strongly denied paying any "blood money" to the family
of the dead.
A petition was filed in the Lahore High Court Thursday challenging
the release of Davis, who was let off Wednesday after $2.3 million
was paid as compensation to the kin of the two people he had shot
Blood money, or "diyat" is a provision under Islamic Sharia law in
which compensation can be paid to relatives of those killed to
secure a pardon.
Family members of the slain men had appeared in court and pardoned
Davis after an agreement was reached between the two sides.
A US Air Force plane carrying 12 men, reportedly including Davis,
Wednesday took off from Lahore airport for Afghanistan.
Davis, 36, shot dead two Pakistanis on a motorcycle in Lahore Jan
27 in what he described as an attempted armed robbery. He claimed
he acted in self-defence.
The Dawn said Davis's release "was preceded by a lot of give and
take between the two countries, particularly their security
"Therefore, it was understood that resolution of the Davis saga
hinged on a deal between ISI and CIA as to how the two
inter-dependent spy agencies agreed to carry forward their
relationship," it said.
The release came only a day after it was reported that the ISI and
the CIA were nearing a settlement and that they had resolved their
The negotiations began at a secluded luxury beach resort in Oman
last month between Pakistan Army Chief Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and
the American military top brass.
A petition filed Thursday by barrister Iqbal Jafri in the Lahore
High Court said that the families of the two dead Pakistani
nationals - Faizan and Faheem - were pressurised by the government
into pardoning Davis, Dawn News reported.
The petition said Davis's pardoning and immediate release was in
violation of the law, and requested the court to invalidate the
decision and direct the authorities to initiate proceedings
against those who brought about his release.
There were several protests across the country Thursday, and
emotional outbursts by people on television, accusing the
government, military and intelligence services of having bartered
national interest and indulging in a secret sell-out.
In Multan, lawyers of the district and high courts boycotted court
proceedings, while activists of the Jamat-e-Islami staged
demonstrations, Geo News said.
Protesters chanted slogans against Davis and burnt tyres in Laki
Marwat, Dera Ghazi Khan, Muzaffarghar, Charsada, and cities in
The US, however, denied paying "blood money" to win Davis's
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton claimed in an interview with
the National Public Radio (NPR) that "the United States did not
pay any compensation".
"The families of the victims of the incident on January 27th
decided to pardon Davis. And we are very grateful for their
decision," she said.
White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters that he had
no "information that would corroborate" that the US paid the
families of the men who were killed.
State Department spokesman Mark Toner also declined to discuss the
details of his release. "We did not pay compensation to the
victims' families. But beyond that, you'll have to ask the
Scott Stewart of strategic think tank Stratfor, however, said:
"The way that this case has been resolved through this blood money
process, is a resolution that is less likely to inflame public
sentiment than if Davis had been released due to the fact that he
had been found to have diplomatic immunity."
"The radical parties, the people like the Pakistani Taliban who
all along have been calling for Davis' death are sure to attempt
to agitate things," he said.