Defence cooperation under a cloud

A visiting delegation of U.S. House Armed Services Committee conveyed a hidden threat that the joint defense cooperation between the Pakistan and US may be under a cloud if the standoff persisted on the issue of Raymond Davis – American citizen who was accused of murdering two men in Lahore.

A late-night press statement informed that a bipartisan US congressional delegation protested the continued illegal detention of Raymond Davis in Lahore. This happened during a meeting with Prime Minister Gilani.

Foreign missions are prohibited to officially revealing diplomatic norms, protestations or differences in the times of high-level interactions.

The statement of the delegation stated that the Pakistan government must recognize the diplomatic immunity of the American citizen and release him as soon as possible. The delegation is of three members and is led by the Chairman of the House Committee – Buck McKeon.

According to witnesses the delegation’s protest was strongly worded and could be easily seen as a warning that the bilateral defense cooperation will face problems unless Davis was not granted his immunity and immediately released.

Mr Gilani responded to the worries of the US congressmen’s about the welfare of Davis, According to his words he had been extended due facilities and security by the Punjab government. A US embassy spokesperson evaded a question regarding the nature of the protest.

So far, the government is doing all it can to stay away from taking a clear position on the issue of immunity, because of diplomatic and political considerations.

The U.S. House Armed Services Committee is responsible for the funding and oversight of defense spending, would soon debate about the promised $2 billion security and military aid for Pakistan.

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