Raymond Davis Acquittal
22 March, 2011
By Amjad Malik
Nations turn difficulty into an opportunity and I guess it does not apply on Pakistan as they turn every opportunity into a disaster. State sponsored ‘Diyat’ ridiculing Islamic provisions absolved Rayomnd Allen Davis of all wrong doing on 16 March after reaching a reconciliation between the legal heirs of the two deceased Faizan and Faheem in 200 million Pak rupees. With the speed the matter was concluded in prison cast doubt on the ‘free will’ of the legal heirs without the aid of their lawyer who complained of unlawful ‘detention’ at the court appearance at Kot Lakhpat prison. How all the stake holders facilitated this deal has cast doubt on Govt’s credibility and weakened the state’s relation of trust with its people. Matter is not of Raymond Davis as post conviction it had the potential of solution by Diyat, or Presidentail pardon or in a prisoner exchange with Dr Afia. But, the arrest was pitched too high to once for all resort to Justice and revive court’s respect in the wake of Dr Afia Siddiqui’s humiliating trial in united States where she was sentenced for 86 years for allegedly shooting a soldier in custody. Test was, that if American courts can adjudicate a trial under their law of the land, then the newborn judiciary of Pakistan is capable to dispense justice here too.
Everyone played their part, as stay was vacated by Lahore Chief Justice on 15th, all legal heirs were coerced and made to appear in court at one time with a fresh face as a lawyer, Prosecution abstained of appealing or stopping his exit and Federal govt showed their failure and allowed the agencies to do the needful. It’s a state failure and a leadership crisis that the matter went to the heart of military and civil establishment, and we all witnessed what happened, a marriage of convenience and ‘bird’ flew in the private jet to Bagram base leaving all to wonder in shock. Who is responsible is a tricky question. Master minds managed to move in a way that no one in power could score points or win in a blame game. All at sundry were on board. On top, media and outer forces were kept in check so that protests and petitions come after the event and all are mourning posthumously. It is not easy to hide 18 legal heirs were missing the night before, then they entered prison the day of hearing on 16, and no news could be aired until the damage was done. Imran khan and his allies could not check presidential election in 2008 and here they failed too as they were in suing MQM leader Altaf Hussain and rest is history.
Judiciary by becoming a party in this deal made a mockery of justice especially on ‘diyat’ when Raymond has illegal weapons, spying equipments and was just fined 30,000 Pak rupees and 50 days suspended sentence for allegedly spying or keeping fire arms It is also unprecedented that state departments, prosecution or agencies withdrew from its obligation to raise necessary issues at the trial court which concluded the match the day Raymond was actually charged for the offences. It also question the propriety as to why other citizens are facing and serving sentences of around 7 years for carrying unlicensed arms when Raymond got off the hook for just paying peanuts. There are many in Pakistani jails who are in prisons for years waiting to be tried. The way the matter has been concluded hastily will cast doubt on Govt’s one sided preferential treatment of citizens of United States where they never could enter into such arrangements during negotiation for quick repatriation of Dr Afia Siddiqui who has been sentenced for 86 years not for killing anyone but for allegedly shooting in illegal confinement. All citizens must be afforded the equal protection of the law irrespective of their race, colour, nationality and financial position, but we are expert in making a fool of ourselves.
Above all, agencies on the name of law of necessity or national security or relations with states coerced everyone to join hands in this barter. None can wash away their hands in this ugly barter. USA refused to accept that they paid any money so it was state craft of the masterminds who let him go without uttering a word of ‘guilty’ or ‘sorry’ but staged a play of ‘diyat’ covering the overall deal ridiculing the Islamic law of genuine reconciliation over a murder. For these stakeholders Americans said that Pakistanis can sell their mothers for ten dollars and When Musharraf handed over Abu Faraj to USA then The press published a cartoon showing the country as a dog and USA as a master throwing a bone and asking the dog to find and catch the notorious ‘Osama’. Our contract post holders proved to their US Masters that what you could not gain in 50 days, they have stage managed in 5 hours, and now they are enquiring US who are the best.
USA in a primary position of power should have set right examples promoting rule of law as such hasty arrangements will damage their already low credibility on their claims of upholding rule of law in the wider world They are already in firing line for incidents like Abu Ghareb, torture and rendition complaints, drone attacks, and above all Guantanamo Bay arbitrary trials. But might is right they follow, and who leaves an opportunity to humiliate a nation of 170 million whose people are in general against United State’s interference in almost any and everything and whose leaders are puppets ready to dance on the tunes of their masters. General Ayub in his dying days rightly pointed out that Pakistan needs a friend not masters.
State sponsored arrangements in Raymond’s case will have serious repercussions and far reaching implications as it will damage the ‘trust’ relation of the state with its people and will further weaken the potential of newborn judiciary to dispense justice when Govt. is unwilling to surrender to the court for a fair hearing. My issue is not with Raymond’s acquittal as option of solving the problem was on plate and must be a priority to restore bilateral interaction, but my issue is with the way it is solved by naming and shaming every one by stage managing the funeral of the expectations and trust of commoner. Interior head and US facilitator Dr. Rehman Malik with Presidential signal wanted to return Raymond the very first day, maybe he knew how strong we are. However, Kerry Lugar and stopping NATO supply over shoot out fame General Kiyani’s role is meaningful who preferred his institution on the national honour, pride and trust just to gain departmental mileage.
Another key figure, suo moto fame Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhary’s repeat inaction is shocking as he quietened in the same fashion on the day as he was on 10 Sept 2007 when he let General Musharraf to deport glaringly the former premier Nawaz Sharif at Islamabad airport despite Court’s clear orders and contempt case is pending todate. Above all they all laid when the time came to stand even the Clinton’s five calls fame Mian Muhammad Nawazs Sharif`s punjab Govt. Pin drop silence is killing and maybe I am also as angry, ashamed and helpless as my other fellow countrymen are who are mourning on this disaster and their helplessness. I cannot even ask them to come out and long march as last 16 March 2009 long march changed what? I am forced to say to these lot, you too Brutus.