Davis issue must not be allowed to hostage Pak-US bilateral ties: PM

Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani on Wednesday said that it was imperative that the Raymond Davis issue must not be allowed to make bilateral relations hostage and have impact on the partnership in the ongoing struggle against terrorism and for restoring peace in Afghanistan.He emphasized the need for positive messaging from both sides to help build trust and confidence between the two countries.

The Prime Minister was talking to US Senator John Kerry, Chairman US Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee who called on him at the Prime Minister House.

He said that at the core of Pakistan-US relations,has always been a shared belief in the common values of freedom, liberty, democracy and the rule of law.

He recalled that US had sided with Pakistan in struggle for restoration of democracy as a result of which Pakistan now had a free media, a vibrant Parliament and a strong independent Judiciary.

He noted that the superior court in Pakistan had taken cognizance of the Davis case and had clearly ordered that the question of immunity to Raymond Davis, if it arises, will be determined by the court.

He urged the US to take into account the ground reality that the principal stakeholders in Davis case were the family members of those killed and the people of Pakistan.

The Prime Minister while referring to his speech at the National Seerat Conference and his interaction with the Ulema and religious scholars earlier in the day. There he had mentioned that the expression of remorse and regret by the US over the loss of lives and the option of benefiting from the Qisas and Diyat Law (which was part of Pakistan Penal Code) should be considered to cool down the rising temperatures in the bilateral relations.

The Prime Minister termed Senator John Kerry as a known friend of Pakistan who has made invaluable contributions for strengthening the bilateral relations.

He urged the Senator to use his personal influence with the US administration as well as the US Congress so that the long history of strategic partnership between the two countries in the interest of peace and stability in the region and beyond, were not negated in any manner.

Senator John Kerry agreed with the Prime Minister that positive messaging would help to develop understanding between the two countries and discourage those elements who desire to exploit the situation to the disadvantage of strategic relationship built to fight extremism and terrorism.

He added that boththe countries had to carry forward the established relationship in the larger interest of international peace and stability.

He expressed deep regrets over the loss of lives in the unfortunate incident in Lahore but emphasized on early resolution of this issue in the interest of continued strategic partnership between Pakistan and the US.

He also agreed with the Prime Minister on the need for utilization of diplomatic channels to help resolve the matter in accordance with the law.

Minister for Law & Justice Babar Awan, Minister for Interior Senator A Rehman Malik, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Mrs Hina Rabbani Khar, secretaries of Foreign Affairs, Defence, Interior, Information & Broadcasting, US Ambassador to Pakistan and other senior officials were also present in the meeting.