The Mozang Chungi episode in Lahore on Thursday should finally bring home to the government the danger posed by the lawless behaviour of US officials in Pakistan. The onus is on our authorities to let police investigate the case without giving in to pressure that is coming from the State Department Spokesman as well as the US Consulate in Lahore. Presently, Mr Raymond Davis (which the State Department says is not his real name) is in custody and would be presented before a magistrate for criminal proceedings.
The police, while mentioning the Consulate official’s version, explained that he had taken out money from an ATM terminal and soon found that two men on motorbike were chasing him. On reaching the Qurtaba Chowk, so goes the version, the two men took out pistols and pointed it at him forcing him to shoot at them in self-defence.
Even then a fair portion of the blame would go to him because in the first place, Americans have been told time and again not to venture out without getting security clearance from local police. What is even more outrageous is the rescue vehicle that came zooming from Consulate in response to a distress call made by the US official. This vehicle, a Prado bearing a fake number plate, violated traffic signals, crossed the median at Jail Road and in its desperation to reach the crime scene injured around a dozen people, one of whom died on the spot. This reflects poorly on the respect US diplomatic staff holds for our laws and citizenry.
There is also the eye-witnesses’ account, seconded by anonymous sources in the police, that deserves attention. They maintain that at Qurtaba Chowk, they saw an armed American get out of a white car rush towards two motorcyclists and shot at them point blank, giving them no time to retaliate. That points to the possibility that he was an intelligence operative carrying out a typical cloak-and-dagger operation. He had been stationed in Afghanistan and last year was temporarily arrested at Sherpao Bridge in Lahore for carrying deadly weapons. Presently, not only the firearm he was carrying was without licence but the police was also not told as to the route and purpose of his visit during rush hour in a busy street of the city. Foreign diplomats moving about in suspicious manner only make a travesty of diplomatic immunity. No one is supposed to carry weapons without approval of the local authorities, leave alone opening fire on citizens in broad daylight on the base of mere impulse – Nation