Pakistan has freed Raymond Davis, the CIA contractor who shot and killed two Pakistanis in Lahore, after the US agreed to pay “blood money” to the families of those killed. Reuters reports:
A CIA contractor was acquitted of two murder charges and released by a Pakistani court on Wednesday after a deal to pay “blood money” to the victims’ families was reached, Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah told Reuters.
The deal, reached just hours after the contractor had been indicted, ends a long-simmering diplomatic standoff between Pakistan and the United States.
“The court first indicted him but the families later told court that they have accepted the blood money and they have pardoned him,” Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah told Reuters.
“The court acquitted him in the murder case.”
Raymond Davis, 36, shot dead two Pakistanis in the eastern Punjab city of Lahore on January 27 after what he described as an attempted armed robbery. He said he acted in self-defense and the United States says he had diplomatic immunity and should have been immediately repatriated.
The US appears to have wasted no time in shuttling Davis out of Pakistan, according to Geo News:
A US air force plane carrying twelve men, perhaps including Raymond Davis took off at 4:45 PM from Lahore airport for Afghanistan, sources told Geo News.
While this will reduce some of the tensions that have built up between Pakistan and the US since the Davis affair began at the end of January, expect there to be serious repercussions inside Pakistan over his release. Pakistani nationalist and Islamist political parties, as well as the Taliban, have called for Davis’ head. The political groups will seize upon his release to characterize the government as a US stooge, and the Taliban most certainly will cite his release as justification for further terror attacks against the government, the military, and civilians alike.
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