RAYMOND DAVIS CHARGED WITH DOUBLE
MURDER IN LAHORE
A US consular employee, Raymond Davis, has appeared in court, on Friday 01/28/2011 charged with the murder of two motorcyclists who were shot dead in the Pakistani city of Lahore on Thursday 01/27/2011. According to eye witnesses Raymond Davis took photos of the two men after they fell to the ground on being hit by bullets, the witnesses said. Davis spoke in Urdu and told people who surrounded his car that he had acted in self-defence (see also - Lahore 09.01.10).
Another person was run over and killed by a vehicle carrying Raymond Davis's colleagues as they came to his aid, police and witnesses have said.
The USA embassy in Islamabad said the man involved in the shooting was a consular official. "The US embassy is working with Pakistani authorities to determine the facts," it said in a statement.
Lahore's police chief, Aslam Tareen, told the BBC Raymond Davis was employed on "security duties" in the consulate. He did not have diplomatic immunity and was not one of the foreign security personnel allowed to carry firearms, according to the Pakistani authorities.
Aslam Tareen said a Glock pistol had been recovered from Raymond Davis and that pistols had also been found on the two men shot dead.
Raymond Davis is said to have told police that the motorcycle rider and his pillion passenger had been trying to hijack his vehicle at gunpoint. He told officers that he had withdrawn money from a cash machine shortly before the incident.
Pakistani investigators have said the two men were probably robbers, although relatives dispute this. The funerals of the three people killed in the incident are expected to take place later on Friday. More than 100 protesters blocked the road in the aftermath of Thursday's incident, setting tyres ablaze. Demonstrators later gathered outside the police station where the foreigner's car - a white Honda Civic with a Lahore registration plate - was impounded.
Police said that the foreigner had used a radio to call colleagues for help immediately after the shooting - and that a second consular car turned up to rescue him. It is believed the third person killed was run over by the vehicle as it sped to his aid.
One of the shot motorcyclists has been identified in the Pakistani media as Faizan Haider, who was thought to be in his early 20s.
A headline in The Nation, a right-wing newspaper that often publishes anti-American commentary, said, "'American Rambo' goes berserk in Lahore". It described Mr David as an undercover US spy.
State department spokesman Philip Crowley told journalists in Washington: "We want to make sure that a tragedy like this does not affect the strategic partnership that we're building with Pakistan…And we'll work as hard as we can to explain that to the Pakistani people." But Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah said the US would not be allowed to influence Pakistani authorities' handling of the incident.
Many Pakistanis resent the US because of regular UAV air strikes in North-West Pakistan, and because of America's role in neighboring Afghanistan.
Raymond Davis was released from Pakistani jail, on Wednesday 03/16/2011, after the families to the two men he killed were given "blood money" and the case was dropped, Pakistani officials said.
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