Comparison of Raymond David and Aafia Siddiqui’s cases

Pakistan and the US appear to be heading towards a diplomatic showdown over the case of a US citizen known as Raymond David, the undercover US national, who went berserk in Lahore and gunned down two young motorcyclists, with the US insisting that he be dealt with as a diplomat while Pakistan is insisting that he be tried by the law of the land. The United States has reneged on its earlier stance of supporting Pakistan in the investigations into the case and called for the immediate release of Mr. Raymond David, who is being detained in Pakistan on murder charges, A spokeswoman at the American diplomatic mission, Courtney Beale, says the United States has requested immunity under the Vienna Convention of Diplomatic Relations to seek the release of its diplomat. Mystery shrouds the real identity of Mr. David since he was identified by the US Consulate immediately after the incident as a staffer and now suddenly he has been granted the status of a “diplomat”. Mr. David, which may be his undercover name, himself has told the investigators on Saturday that he was on a ‘task’ assigned to him. The Federal intelligence agencies have been asked not to meddle in the case as the incident is simple double-murder and the concerned law-enforcement agency, the police, would deal it according to the law. Some sources opine that he was working for a security agency.Readers may recall the recent case and trial of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, an American-educated Pakistani cognitive neuroscientist, who was convicted after a jury trial in a U.S. federal court of assault with intent to murder her U.S. interrogators in Afghanistan. There was little or no evidence to implicate her in the incident except the word of her tormentors. She was emaciated, frail and weak with hunger and torture. It is nigh impossible to comprehend how a person in her state could have snatched a rifle from two burly GIs and shot at them, without injuring them and in the bargain being injured herself. Yet on September 2010, she was sentenced by the U.S. judge to 86 years in prison.On the other hand the case of Mr. Raymond David is crystal clear. He shot and killed two Pakistani motorcyclists in cold blood in front of hundreds of witnesses and tried to flee from the scene of the accident. The second Consulate vehicle that came to his rescue, crushed and killed another motorcyclist. Mr. Raymond David had no business toting a gun around in the heart of Lahore.

The case must be tried under the judicial system of Pakistan and the US must stop trying to browbeat Pakistan. For once the Foreign Office has taken the correct stance and it must stick to it. If Mr. Raymond David is to be set free somehow, it should only be in exchange for Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, who is being incarcerated in US prisons on trumped up charges. The three murders of Pakistanis in Mozang Lahore, cannot be condoned under the plea that the perpetrator had diplomatic immunity. Diplomatic immunity is a form of legal immunity and a policy held between governments, which ensures that diplomats are given safe passage and are considered not susceptible to lawsuit or prosecution under the host country’s laws (although they can be expelled). It was agreed as international law in the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (1961). It is possible for the official’s home country to waive immunity when the individual has committed a serious crime, unconnected with their diplomatic responsibilities. In response to Saturday’s U.S. demand seeking release of its diplomat, a Pakistani foreign ministry spokesman reiterated that the matter involving the American official is under investigation and before a court of law, saying the legal process should be respected. Let the law of the land prevail – Dailymailtimes