Islamabad, Feb 15 (IANS) Police authorities have submitted a challan – a formal complaint – against Raymond Davis, a US consular staffer arrested on charges of killing two alleged robbers, before a court in Lahore Tuesday, even as the US stepped up efforts to secure his release through diplomatic parleys.
Just when the news broke out that John Kerry, chairman of the US Senate’s foreign relations committee, is reaching Pakistan Tuesday night, the police were presenting Davis in the court. They maintained in the formal complaint to the court that “his claim of acting in self-defence is false and not verified through investigations”.
“Davis kept firing at the boys after coming out of his vehicle even though they were on the run,” the formal document said, adding that “there were no bullets in the pistol of Faizan, one of the two boys”.
The challan, as the docuemnt is called in Pakistan, submitted on behalf of Faizan’s bother Imran, also revealed that “the accused had not cooperated with authorities during investigation”.
The next hearing will take place Feb 25 before an additional district and sessions judge instead of the judicial magistrate who has been hearing the case till now.
Police have booked Davis under Section 302 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), that deals with ‘murder by design’, and the sessions court can award capital punishment to the accused in this case if found guilty.
Davis was arrested by Lahore police Jan 27 on charges of killing two youngsters at a busy intersection. He later claimed before the court that he was acting in self-defence and that they were trying to rob him at an ATM machine.
The challan submitted by police negates that claim and has placed his fate at the hands of the court.
The US administration has pleaded for his release under the cover of diplomatic immunity. The paksitan government has, however, asked US officials to wait for the court verdict.
The grant of diplomatic immunity and his possible handing over to the US has also been challenged in the court.
John Kerry,,in his meetings with the Pakistani government officials, is expected to push for Davis’ release. The US state department spokesman said the US will produce evidence before the Pakistani court Thursday to verify that Davis was part of the diplomatic staff and enjoyed immunity under the Vienna Convention.
Earlier, former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had revealed that Secretary of State “Hillary Clinton had forced me to confirm diplomatic immunity of Davis although it was not confirmed by the records of Foreign Office”.
The members of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party have criticised Qureshi for “issuing irresponsible statements at a crucial time”.