Pakistan's fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami party has announced it will provide financial aid of Rs 3 lakh to the families of the three men killed in an incident involving suspected Central Intelligence Agency contractor Raymond Davis. This is in a bid to forestall reported efforts by Saudi Arabia to arrange a "blood money" deal to settle the matter.
Davis was arrested in Lahore in January after he shot dead two armed men he claimed were trying to rob him. A third Pakistani was killed when he was hit by a United States consulate car rushing to help Davis. The matter became complicated after it was reported that Davis was working for the CIA while the two men he killed were Inter-Services Intelligence operatives.
Recent reports have suggested that Saudi Arabia is acting as a mediator to resolve the stand-off between the US and Pakistan over Davis. Religious and right wing parties such as the Jamaat-e-Islami and cricketer-turned politician Imran Khan led Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf, have geared up their activities, following reports of Saudi mediation.
Though the religious parties hold the Saudi royal family in high esteem, they appear unwilling to budge from their stance in this case. Emissaries of a Gulf state held meetings with officials and religious leaders in Lahore on Thursday, in an apparent bid to find a solution to the imbroglio over Davis.
There has also been speculation that the Saudis could arrange a 'blood money' deal that would be acceptable under Islamic laws. The widow of one of the victims has said that she would not accept blood money and demanded Davis be hanged at the spot where her husband was gunned down.
The Jamaat-e-Islami has announced that it will provide a token compensation of Rs 1 lakh each for the families of the three victims and has also set up a relief fund to 'save the aggrieved families' from giving in to the temptation of offers of blood money by the US.
Jamaat chief Munawar Hasan has appealed to people to provide financial help to the victims' families. Hasan has called on the people to 'remain on the roads' until justice is done. The Jamaat is also contesting three cases against Davis in Pakistani courts.