London, Feb 21 (IANS) Raymond Davis, who gunned down two men in Lahore, sparking a diplomatic crisis between Islamabad and Washington, is a CIA agent, a media report here said.
The Guardian has dramatically revealed that Davis, 36, was on assignment at the time he shot dead two men who had pulled up near his car Jan 25.
Davis was arrested, but the Obama administration is demanding his release on the ground that he is an “administrative and technical official” attached to its Lahore consulate and enjoys diplomatic immunity.
The Guardian report said Davis is a former special forces soldier and employed with the CIA.
“It’s beyond a shadow of a doubt,” a senior Pakistani intelligence official was quoted as saying.
This may make matters more complicated as Davis has been insisting that he acted in self-defence when an attempt was being made to rob him.
Pakistani prosecutors have said that Davis used excessive force as he fired 10 shots and got out of his car to shoot dead one of the two men who was fleeing.
“It went way beyond what we define as self-defence. It was not commensurate with the threat,” a police official told the Guardian.
Davis’s CIA status is known to the Pakistani government.
Analysts have cautioned about Egyptian-style demonstrations if Davis is set free. The government, which is worried about a possible backlash, says it needs until March 14 to decide whether Davis enjoys diplomatic immunity.
The Lahore shooting had led to a third death when a speeding US consulate vehicle coming to the rescue of Davis overran a motorcyclist.
Pakistani officials believe that the speeding vehicles’ occupants also were from the CIA.
The US didn’t allow Pakistani officials to question the two men and Sunday a Pakistani intelligence official said they had left the country.
“They have flown the coop, they are already in America,” he was quoted as saying.
US officials have threatened to cut the $1.5 billion of annual aid to Pakistan if Davis is not released, and they put bilateral contacts on hold.
The case took a dramatic turn Feb 6 when the widow of one of the victims of the Lahore shooting, Muhammad Fahim, committed suicide, turning public opinion further against the jailed American.
The woman apparently feared that her husband’s killer would be let off by the Pakistan government.
The media report referred to Washington’s silence on Davis’s role and it said that Davis had served in the US special forces for 10 years before leaving in 2003 to become a security contractor.
Pakistani officials grew suspicious about Davis’s role by the kind of equipment police confiscated from his car, which included an unlicensed pistol, a long-range radio, a GPS device, an infrared torch and a camera with pictures of buildings around Lahore.
“This is not the work of a diplomat. He was doing espionage and surveillance activities,” said Rana Sanaullah, Punjab’s law minister.
He said he had “confirmation” that Davis was a CIA employee.
The Guardian said the US media was aware of Davis’s CIA role but kept it under wraps at the request of the Obama administration.
A television station made the CIA connection after speaking to Davis’s wife. She referred inquiries to a Washington number that turned out to be of the CIA.
A senior ISI official said that their relationship with the CIA had been hurt.
“We are a sovereign country and if they want to work with us, they need to develop a trusting relationship on the basis of equality. Being arrogant and demanding is not the way to do it,” he was quoted as saying.