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Take action against US consulate driver: Pak court tells police

February 19, 2011 17:46 IST
A Pakistani court has directed the police to take action against the driver of a speeding United States consulate vehicle that killed a motorcyclist while rushing to aid American official Raymond Davis, arrested after he gunned down two men in Lahore.

The Lahore high court Chief Justice Ijaz Chaudhry also ordered the police to take the vehicle from the US consulate into their possession for investigation. The judge on Friday issued the orders in response to a petition filed by Muhammad Ijaz-ur-Rehman, the brother of Obaid-ur-Rehman, the motorcyclist killed by the consulate vehicle.

Davis was arrested on January 27 after he shot and killed two armed men he said were trying to rob him at Mozang in Lahore. Obaid-ur-Rehman died in the same area when he was hit by a vehicle that was carrying US consulate employees who were responding to Davis' call for help.

Ijaz-ur-Rehman asked the court to issue an order to police for the immediate arrest of the driver of the consulate vehicle. The chief justice called an assistant advocate general of the Punjab province and directed him to ensure that the courts order is complied with.

The chief justice observed, "It is the police's duty to investigate the case in a fair and impartial manner and to bring on record and consider evidence which they wish to rely on. The investigation is directed to record the statements of Ijaz-ur-Rehman and eyewitnesses, provided that the investigation of the case has not so far been completed, and proceed with the matter in accordance with the law."

The court then disposed of Ijaz-ur-Rehman's petition. The dead man's brother had registered a case at Lytton Road police station, accusing the driver of the US consulate vehicle of murder.

The US consulate in Lahore and the embassy in Islamabad have not yet identified the officials who were in the vehicle that killed Obaid-ur-Rehman. The consulate has also not responded to several requests from authorities in Lahore to hand over the vehicle.

The police have rejected Davis' claim that he acted in self-defence and have charged him with murder in a challan filed in court this week. The Pakistan government, fearful of a backlash due to the growing anti-American sentiment in the country, has rejected US demands to free Davis and said his case will be decided by the courts.

Matters have been further complicated because of the rivalry between the Pakistan People's Party, which heads the federal government, and the main opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, which rules Punjab.

The PML-N government has said it intends to prosecute Davis and other Americans involved in the hit-and-run incident while the PPP is trying to find an amicable solution to the row that has taken Pakistan-US ties to a new low.
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