Will support parliament for investigation into Raymond Davis incident: Khawaja Asif

Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif on Friday said that he would support an investigation into the release of US spy Raymond Allen Davis if the parliament asks for it, terming the whole incident a matter of embarrassment for the entire nation.

The minister was replying to a point-of-order raised by Senator Hafiz Hamdullah of Jamiat-i-Ulema-i-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) during Friday’s Senate session regarding the alleged involvement of former president Asif Zardari, former envoy Hussain Haqqani and former ISI chief Ahmed Shuja Pasha in the Davis incident.

The JUI-F senator said Davis — in his book — raised doubts over the sanctity of the state institutions, including the parliament, military, and the presidency, but neither the government nor any other institution has clarified its stance on the matter.

The foreign minister replied that he was willing to initiate a probe into the release of Davis if the parliament gives a go-ahead for the same

“Many state institutions have been accused of facilitating the release of Davis; I think it was not institutions but individuals who might have done so for personal benefits,” said Asif.

He added that it was the Pakistan government — not the US government — which paid for the release of Davis.

It [release of Davis] is a matter of embarrassment for us all; nothing will come out from debating this issue, the foreign minister maintained.

“As long as the authority does not rest with the parliament, such incidents will keep happening,” he concluded.

Davis was a contractor with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) when he shot two men in Lahore on Jan 27, 2011. A car coming to rescue Davis killed a third man, Ibadur Rahman, in a hit-and-run while speeding on the wrong side of the road.

On March 16, 2011, Davis was released after the families of the two killed men were paid $2.4 million as blood money. Judges then acquitted him on all charges and Davis immediately returned to the United States.

In his memoir, titled The Contractor: How I Landed in a Pakistani Prison and Ignited a Diplomatic CrisisDavis highlights the role that former CIA director Leon Panetta and ISI’s former director general Ahmed Shuja Pasha allegedly played in securing his release. He also briefly mentions former Pakistani ambassador Husain Haqqani.