US and Pakistan in Diplomatic Immunity Dust-up
Perhaps not getting the coverage it might in the face of more important developments elsewhere: Pakistan continues to hold Raymond Davis, a US government official posted to Lahore, in the killing of two Pakistanis last week despite protests from the US that the official is entitled to diplomatic immunity. Here’s a report from the LA Times; here’s a more detailed version from a Pakstani news outlet.
It’s not absolutely clear what Davis was doing at the Lahore consulate. US Embassy Islamabad claims he was a member of the technical staff, and as such entitled to immunity under article 37 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. (The Embassy has posted “facts about diplomatic immunity” to make the point.) But here’s an item claiming that he wasn’t on a diplomatic visa. What governs the status determination?
Also not clear what’s going on internally in Pakistan. There are provincial, judicial, and federal players (including legislative ones). Remind you of anyplace else? The incident also seems highly politicized (note the photo of protesters holding a reticent banner, “Hang the American killer of innocents”; a member of the Pakistani senate has called for “the government has to take a strong stand to give exemplary punishment to the US commando for killing innocent people”). Any chance the US will waive immunity, as other countries appear increasingly willing to do with respect to their diplomats posted here? Don’t count on it!