by Tim Evanson
That would be a fairly simple and momentary task since the United States of America has always had a biased approach towards Pakistan. It appears the United States has treated Pakistan as an inferior country rather than reciprocating equal respect and comity between two nations. However, Pakistanis have come a long way to realize this and this token of incident from Raymond Davis has evidently added fuel to the fire.
The interesting aspect of the situation is borne by United States requesting return of their citizen under the garb of diplomatic immunity guaranteed in the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations 1961. Pakistan and the United States are parties to the Vienna Convention 1961 and Vienna Convention on Consular Relations 1963. After perusal of both the Conventions, I have learnt that staff of the sending country has privileges and enjoy immunity. However, it is imperative to mention here that immunity is not an absolute right. Immunity is granted to diplomats to carry on their duties without any fear. This privilege is not granted as a license to abuse the laws of the land. Notably the highest level of immunity (civil lawsuits and criminal prosecution) is granted to the highest post. Though for lower level of posts such as Raymond Davis’s, they are only immune to the extent of their acts done/committed as part of their duties. Their immunity is by no means stretched to exempt them from criminal prosecution. Clearly committing murder was not a part of Mr. Davis’s official duty supplemented by fellow colleague who committed murder via hit-and-run accident.
One has to bear in mind, immunity cannot override humanity. What Raymond Davis’s incident has done is deprive two families of their young and healthy sons. These sons were to provide bread and butter for their families in future however today they lay six feet underground. These families deserve justice in the name of humanity and righteousness.
Instead of waiving any kind of immunity (if Davis does have it) so that he could be tried in the courts to ensure the two families are treated justly, the United States is pleading Davis’s return! One wonders, if the scenario was the other way around and Pakistani member of administrative and technical staff diplomat had committed murder in the States, would the United States conveniently allow Pakistani to be returned home? In January 1997, the Deputy Ambassador of the Republic of Georgia to the United States, Gueorgui Makharadze, caused an accident that resulted in injuring four people and death of a minor. The United States ensured Republic of Georgia waived immunity and the American courts tried and convicted the Deputy Ambassador of manslaughter. He was sentenced to prison in the United States. It would be wise to construe where the United States convicted a deputy ambassador (second highest in rank) for an accident, it is highly improbable that the Pakistani diplomat would have been returned home safely after committing two murders in the name of “self-defense”.
Therefore, the United States should reconsider its stance on requesting Raymond Davis’s return without him being tried in the court of law in Pakistan. The United States ought to realize Pakistani live is just as important as the American live and it needs to adopt a fair and just approach. The American citizen who committed murder in broad daylight before a mob of people is not above the law in Pakistan. This is a time to ensure that humanity prevails over immunity.
LLB (University of London (external), LLM (University of Warwick)