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February 15, 2011
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Qureshi stands tall among pygmies

Newspost

February 15, 2011

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ISLAMABAD: I had never thought that by insisting for a comment on Raymond Davis, I would push the former foreign minister and respected PPP leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi in such deep trouble. Though he did not utter a word against his leadership or the party policy, all the PPP guns turned against him for speaking out the truth about Davis, the American killer to whom some powerful players in the government are inclined to give diplomatic immunity as demanded by Washington. I have never been fond of visiting the ministers’ enclave or the offices and residences of high and mighty unless it is “badly required” professionally.
My purpose of seeing Qureshi was to pay respect to the man, who took a principled position in the Raymond Davis case and who early in the day when we met was heard saying to the foreign office mandarins in his farewell speech: “If I get close to others (a reference to his and Hillary Clinton nearing their heads too close for a photo session) for the sake of Pakistan, I could sever even the best of my relations for the respect of my country and people.” He proved himself right and a true Pakistani by refusing to bow down to the pressures of powerful Washington to give blanket immunity to Davis that he otherwise does not deserve under the Vienna Convention.
Qureshi was even reluctant to discuss the Davis case but when pressed he categorically said that the American killer could not be given the diplomatic immunity as sought by Washington. He added that Davis is not a diplomat and explained that this is not his personal verdict but the conclusion drawn by experts of the foreign ministry on the basis of available official record and in the light of national and international laws. He was precisely asked if he was facing any pressure from the Presidency or the Prime Minister office to bail out Davis, he said “No”. The whole world knows that the pressure is coming from Washington. There is no doubt that Americans have gone mad

on this issue. “Don’t we have the right to protect our sovereignty and uphold rule of law,” Qureshi was quoted to have said to the Foreign Office officials in his farewell speech.
Qureshi did not cook up things to fix Davis instead it was Davis, who killed two Pakistanis in cold blood, was in possession of illicit arms and ammunition and violated the law of the land as if he has got the license to kill.
To be honest, I did try to explore Qureshi if there is any serious effort within the government of Pakistan to give immunity to Davis, he did not confirm any such thing or talk of any pressure. I did not find much useful for print in off the record discussion as it hardly made any story.
As a newsman, the on-the-record part of Qureshi’s statement was my story of the day but I never knew that it would land the decent politician from Multan in such a serious trouble that ordinary characters within the PPP would start pointing their fingers at him. No matter what others say, Qureshi today stands tall in the crowd of the today’s PPP that has no dearth of minnows and pygmies.

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