Ex-CIA contractor says Pakistan’s leaders helped him escape murder charges

Raymond Allen DavisA former contractor for the United States Central Intelligence Agency, who was released from a Pakistani prison in 2011 despite being implicated in a double murder there, says he was freed with the help of senior Pakistani officials. Raymond Allen Davis was a CIA contractor posted in the US consulate in Pakistan’s Punjabi capital, Lahore, which is also the country’s second-largest city. It has been suggested that, for a while, Davis was the CIA’s acting station chief in Lahore, thus technically the most senior American intelligence officer in Punjab.

On January 27, 2011, while driving in downtown Lahore, Davis opened fire against two men riding on a motorcycle, killing them instantly. Soon after the incident, Davis appears to have contacted the US consulate in Lahore, which rapidly dispatched a consular vehicle to remove him from the scene of the shooting. However, the vehicle was unable to reach Davis, who was surrounded by an angry crowd. Unable to pick up Davis, the car then returned to the consulate after running down and killing a motorcyclist who was unconnected with the earlier incident. Eventually Davis was arrested and charged with double murder and illegal possession of a firearm. The Pakistani government dismissed Washington’s assertion that Davis was an accredited diplomat, and was thus not subject to Pakistan’s legal system because of his diplomatic immunity. With public opinion in Pakistan heavily against Davis, the case sparked a diplomatic crisis between Washington and Islamabad. Unexpectedly, however, Davis was released in March of the same year, after the families of the two men he killed appeared in court and said they forgave him and wanted him to be pardoned. It later emerged that the families of the murdered men had been given a total of $2.4 million as compensation for their deaths.

After years of silence, last week Davis announced the publication of his book, The Contractor: How I Landed in a Pakistani Prison and Ignited a Diplomatic Crisis. In it, the former CIA contactor says he decided the two Pakistani men were a threat after they approached his vehicle brandishing a firearm. He also says that he had never killed anyone before, but “thankfully, all ten rounds [he] fired found their intended target”. Further on in the book, Davis claims that he was released from prison due to the intervention of senior Pakistani politicians and state officials. These, he says, included the country’s then-President, Asif Zardari, Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani, and General Shuja Pasha, who headed the Inter-Services Intelligence —Pakistan’s main spy agency. These men, claims Davis, arranged his release from prison, by using an antiquated sharia law, which permits the release of a wrongdoer by the relatives of a victim, if sufficient money is given to them. What is more, Davis claims that the $2.4 million given to the families of the deceased was provided by the Pakistani government, not by Washington. He also alleges that the families of the two men were effectively “coerced” by the government of Pakistan into accepting the money.

Davis’ claims prompted angry responses by opposition politicians in Pakistan over the weekend. The latter criticized government officials, calling them traitors and saying that they exploited sharia law to help an American spy escape after killing two Pakistanis. It has long been claimed that the two men killed by Davis, Mohammad Faheem and Faizan Haider, both in their mid-20s, were in fact ISI operatives. But this claim remains unsubstantiated to this day. Davis’ book, The Contractor, is published by BenBella Books, which is based in Dallas, Texas.

Author: Joseph Fitsanakis | Date: 04 July 2017 | Permalink

One Response to Ex-CIA contractor says Pakistan’s leaders helped him escape murder charges

  1. 1984 says:

    What does Davis claim in his book regarding the organisation the alleged assassins were working for?

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