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- Thursday, March 17, 2011 - From Print Edition


NEW YORK: Pakistan’s Federal and Punjab governments may claim their ignorance and call release of CIA contractor Raymond Davis and his sudden departure to Kabul a judicial decision, but American media has reported that release of the US national was the result of a well thought-out and well-worked secret plan.


US officials worked hard on this plan for three weeks for the release of Raymond Davis and a broad agreement was reached on Friday but certain glitches delayed the end game - release and departure of Raymond Davis, Washington Post reported.


The newspaper also confirmed Pakistani media reports that Raymond Davis was a CIA operative and member of a US team that protected CIA operatives in Lahore. Washington Post quoted a US official saying: “There has been a plan in the works for the last three weeks,” adding that US officials had desperately worked to free Davis before a threatened murder trial began.


“The concern was that if the actual murder trial started it would become very difficult to extricate him.” An official close to the negotiations said three Pakistani families each received between $700,000 and $1 million as part of the deal to free Davis.


In addition to the two men killed by Davis - Faizan and Faheem - a third Pakistani - Ebadur Rehman - died after being struck by a vehicle carrying CIA personnel attempting to retrieve Davis after the shooting. While some US officials said that blood money has been paid to the families of three Pakistani victims, some US sources insist that no payments has been made so far and US is to get the bill.


According to Washington Post, “A second US official said that the US government had yet to make any payments in connection with the case, apparently because the terms and initial payments were handled by Pakistani officials. “To date the US government has not paid anybody anything. We expect to receive a bill,” the US officials added.


No other concessions or quid pro quo between Pakistani and US governments were made. Washington Post confirmed: “Davis, 36, was a member of a security team assigned to protect CIA operatives in Lahore collecting intelligence on targets including Lashkar-e-Taiba.”


The newspaper for weeks refrained from reporting Davis’s status as a CIA employee at the request of the Obama administration, which said identifying him as an agency operative could risk his life.”


Landing of a US plane in Lahore to take Raymond out of Pakistan was not an unplanned act for governments in Lahore and Islamabad. Negotiations and handling of three victim families was not a covert US operation. All happened with the consent and cooperation of Pakistan’s federal government and Punjab government. It was a well-planned act with the rulers at the Centre and Punjab.