Islamabad, March 17 (IANS) The release of American security contractor Raymond Davis, who killed two men in Lahore, is understood to have been based on a clandestine deal between Pakistani intelligence agency ISI and the CIA, a media report said Thursday.
A court in Lahore Wednesday acquitted Davis after payment of “blood money” as compensation to relatives of the victims. A US Air Force plane carrying 12 men, perhaps including Davis, later took off from Lahore airport for Afghanistan.
Family members of the slain men had appeared in court and pardoned the US national after an agreement was reached between the two sides.
Blood money, or “diyat” is a provision under Islamic Sharia law in which compensation can be paid to relatives of those killed to secure a pardon.
Davis, 36, shot dead two Pakistanis on a motorcycle in Lahore Jan 27, in what he described as an attempted armed robbery. He claimed he acted in self-defence.
He was a member of a security team assigned to protect CIA operatives in Lahore collecting intelligence on militant groups.
There were several protests across the country, and emotional outbursts by common people on television, accusing the federal and Punjab governments as well as the military and intelligence services of having bartered national interest and indulging in a secret sell-out, the Dawn reported Thursday.
There was, however, no comment from the presidency, prime minister’s office and the foreign office on the development.
The foreign office even cancelled its weekly media briefing usually held Thursday, fearing a backlash.
A statement by US Ambassador Cameron Munter – dated March 10 – on Davis’s release confirmed that the deal had been finalised almost a week ago, but its implementation got delayed because of issues pertaining to its execution.
It added that the US department of justice has opened an investigation into the incident in Lahore.
The daily said Davis’s release “was preceded by a lot of give and take between the two countries, particularly their security agencies”.
“Therefore, it was understood that resolution of the Davis saga hinged on a deal between ISI and CIA as to how the two inter-dependent spy agencies agreed to carry forward their relationship,” it said.
His release came only a day after it was reported that the ISI and the CIA were nearing a settlement and that they had resolved their differences.
The negotiations began at a secluded luxury beach resort in Oman last month between Pakistan Army Chief Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and the American military top brass.
The deal, which had US President Barack Obama’s nod, could mark a serious change in the ISI-CIA collaboration parameters, the daily said.