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Why Pak shouldn't succumb to US arrogance

February 14, 2011 21:29 IST

The imperial arrogance of a superpower is increasing daily for a weak democracy in Pakistan, but it is still counterproductive, feels noted Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir.

Pakistan is challenging the arrogant attitude of the United States for a second time in less than six months.

Pakistan stopped NATO supply line in October last year after US helicopters killed some Pakistani troops in its tribal areas. This supply line was resumed only after an official apology came from a former US ambassador in Pakistan.

This time the US is not ready to apologise or respect the Pakistani law, but is trying to prove that Pakistan is the most bullied ally of US.

The US postponed a scheduled high-level trilateral meeting with Pakistan which was aimed at discussing the situation in Afghanistan.

The US wrongly assumed that postponing a diplomatic meeting would be enough for putting more pressure on Islamabad to release its shady secret agent Raymond Davis, who was arrested on January 27 for killing two Pakistani citizens in Lahore.

This imperial arrogance never worked and Pakistani Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir responded on Saturday that 'if I commit an immoral act, I won't seek immunity.'

As another pressure-move, the US officials have now conveyed to Pakistan that if Raymond Davis is released in the coming few days, President Asif Ali Zardari's visit to US next month could also be postponed.

Highly reliable sources in the Pakistani foreign office claimed that not the US state department, but the White House itself is directly dealing with the Raymond Davis case under Central Intelligence Agency pressure.

It is now clear that Raymond Davis was working for the CIA, because interestingly, the intelligence agency has stopped the drone attacks in the Pakistani tribal areas after his arrest.

It is also learnt that Pakistani officials in Washington, DC are getting threatening messages directly from White House. Pakistan embassy in Washington has conveyed to the president and prime minister in Islamabad last week that US could postpone the visit of Zardari to Washington and some US Congressmen are also planning to start a move for disrupting the US aid to Pakistan.

Despite all these 'threatening messages' top government officials in Islamabad once again made it clear on Sunday that only the Pakistani courts will decide the fate of Raymond Davis.

A powerful federal minister very close to President Zardari said, "We are not in a position to oblige the US because this matter is now subjudice as the Lahore high court included the name of Raymond Davis in exit control list."

"How can we go against the court orders? If we will do anything in violation of the court orders, then the court will summon us for contempt, and we are sure that the people of Pakistan will come out on the roads against us and our fate will be worst than Hosni Mubarak (recently ousted president of Egypt)."

When asked that if there is unanimity in all the government institutions on Raymond Davis case, then why Shah Mahmood Qureshi was not given the ministry of foreign affairs in the new cabinet, the minister had no satisfactory answer and accepted that the Qureshi affair have created many questions and 'only Prime Minister Gilani can answer these questions.'

But he also said, "Let me tell you clearly, the president, PM, the army chief and the Punjab government are now on one wave length on the Raymond Davis issue that only courts will decide his fate."

"We will not accept any US pressure, we are ready to face US sanctions because we know that new elections are very close and a small mistake on this issue will destroy the political future of the Pakistan People's Party," he added.

Despite all these 'off the record claims' no Pakistani minister is ready to say anything against US publicly.

Even Shah Mahmood Qureshi is making big claims only after he was not given the foreign ministry. It is learnt that majority of the new cabinet members have advised PM not to accept the US pressure.

Initially Zardari asked PM to find out some way to come out of the mounting US pressure, but it was Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir who clearly wrote in one of his notes to PM that 'Raymond Davis is not a diplomat and we cannot compromise our national security by accepting US pressure on this issue. Let the courts decide the case, we should not provide immunity to a killer.'

Foreign office sources said that arrogant attitude of US on Raymond Davis case also exposed the seriousness of US for its war against terror and strategic dialogue with Pakistan.

US is ready to forget everything Pakistan did in the past just for a person who killed two Pakistanis in the name of so-called 'self defense.'

The family of the third person is also planning to take some legal action against top police officials who have still not arrested the associates of Raymond Davis who killed a motorcyclist -- Abadur Rehman -- in their attempt to rescue him.

Punjab police officials claimed that they are in contact with the US consulate in Lahore for the arrest of Raymond's driver who killed the motorcyclist.

It is also important that the diplomatic community in Islamabad is not supporting the US position on Raymond Davis case. Many European diplomats exchanged views on this issue with this scribe and said that diplomats do not move and act like Raymond Davis moved and acted in Lahore. Diplomats are not entitled to carry illegal weapons with them.

One diplomat reminded me my questions to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in an interview in 2009 in which I asked her that why US officials were moving in Pakistan with illegal weapons in their hands and when Pakistani police arrest them why you put pressure on our government to release them.

Hillary never had a satisfactory answer and promised that she will get the details and will make it sure that it does not happen again.

But this promise was not fulfilled. US secret agents expanded their activities from Islamabad to Peshawar and from Lahore to Karachi under the nose of the PPP-led government.

One European diplomat said that US have forgotten all its responsibilities as a major international player just for Raymond Davis.

Another diplomat said that tomorrow Raymond Davis-type secret agents may kill more people in other capitals of the world and then US will say that killers have the diplomatic immunity.

He said that Pakistan should not accept the US pressure because it will create more problems for diplomats all over the world.

An Arab diplomat said that "we condemn Taliban and Al Qaeda because they break law of the land, we hunt them, we punish them, but why can't we arrest and punish a US citizen if he killed someone? What is the difference between Taliban and US secret agents? Both violate our laws, both kill innocents".

Hamid Mir