Billions of dollars worth of U.S. aid for Pakistan could be withheld unless a U.S. diplomat detained in the Asian country is released, some members of the U.S. Congress have warned.
Diplomat Raymond Davis, who is assigned to the U.S. embassy in Islamabad, has been detained since Jan. 27 in connection with a shooting incident that resulted in the deaths of two Pakistani civilians. The U.S. Department of State has demanded his release, citing diplomatic immunity as prescribed under international agreements.
A group of U.S. legislators who traveled to Pakistan said they explained to Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani and other senior government officials the possibility that some members of Congress might propose cutting aid to Pakistan because of Davis’ case, CNN reports.
“It is entirely possible that a member of Congress would come down and offer an amendment to cut funding for Pakistan, based on their detaining Mr. Davis, and my guess is there would be a lot support for such an amendment, frankly because of the outrage of detaining an American with diplomatic immunity,” said Rep. John Klein (R-Minn.), one of the three congressmen who made the trip to Pakistan.
Davis said the men tried to rob him while he was driving through Lahore, where he was based at the time of the incident, the U.S. embassy in Pakistan said. Relatives of the two men killed in the shooting are accusing Davis of murder.
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State P.J. Crowley said that the United States is stressing to Pakistan that Davis’ case should be resolved “in accordance with international laws.”
Davis’ detention has reportedly strained U.S.-Pakistan relations and sparked anti-U.S. sentiments in the Asian country.
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