It’s not a rumour, Americans did get Qureshi’s scalp

By:Mohammad Malick

When powerful men meet to discuss explosive issues, things can change in a big way. And that is precisely what happened after a highly secretive and immensely important meeting at the Presidency a few days back. The subject, not unexpectedly, being the fate of American killer Raymond Davis and that of Pakistan-US relations. Little did anyone know at the time that the huddle would instead end up deciding the fate of Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi.

The meeting, convened by the president was attended by Prime Minister Gilani, Babar Awan, Rehman Malik, Shah Mehmood Qureshi and the DG ISI Gen Shuja Pasha. The president was given an exhaustive overview of the entire situation but quite early in the meeting it became evident that two of the men were standing on the wrong side of the prevalent dominant wisdom and desire of somehow finding a way to retrospectively cough up diplomatic immunity for Davis and to just wish away all the four deaths and the lingering crisis. But since one of the ‘erring’ two dared not be arbitrarily fired, poor Qureshi’s fate stood sealed.

Extreme pressure was exerted in the meeting on the former foreign minister to renege from his earlier stance and simply tell the court that the Foreign Office was in consonance with the American interpretation of Davis being a genuine diplomat and enjoying full immunity under Vienna Convention 1961. Facts be damned. According to highly reliable sources, interior ministry’s immense resources were also offered to cause any necessary change of documentation or any exceptional service warranted under these exceptional circumstances.

An adamant Qureshi, who had strongly argued the case that Raymond did not enjoy unlimited diplomatic immunity under law, flatly refused and even said that if need be, he’d rather resign than become an accessory to multiple murder. The meeting ended on a rather unsavoury and unexpected note. It was a surprising outcome for all the others because Qureshi had always been perceived, and even pilloried by the media, as being an American lackey and was not expected to dig in his heels over an issue so vital for the US administration.

But Qureshi’s latest run in with the Americans did not begin or end inside the Presidency. It had actually begun much earlier on January 28, a day after the deadly Raymond Davis incident in Lahore. He was in Karachi when he first received a call from US Ambassador to Pakistan, Cameron Munter and then had a conversation with US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. Munter requested him for immediate councillor access to Davis and his immediate handover to US Consulate authorities. Qureshi asked Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir to talk to Munter and while authorising immediate councillor access to Davis made it clear to the foreign secretary that the matter of release would only be decided by the court as the legal process had already been kicked into motion in Punjab. Then came Hillary’s call.

An understandably perturbed Hillary wanted the immediate handover of Davis and insisted that Pakistan was violating the Vienna Convention by the illegal incarceration of a “US diplomat”. Confirming the contents of that conversation to The News, Shah Mehmood said that he had patiently explained to Hillary that while he understood her anxiety she too had to understand the highly emotive and sensitive nature of the incident. And also that since the judicial process had been kick-started in Lahore, the Foreign Office and the US had little option but to submit to the due process of law. Anyway, the two decided to discuss the matter on the sidelines of the then forthcoming Munich Security Conference, and the line went silent.

Since then, Ambassador Munter and other senior embassy officials remained busy with engaging Pakistani authorities and the Foreign Office, blowing hot or cold, depending upon the level of their own frustration and the pressure coming their way from Washington. A few days prior to the Munich Conference, Qureshi received a call from Ambassador Munter who said that he had been directed to convey the message that unless Qureshi signed the diplomatic immunity paper prior to the conference, the scheduled meeting between him and Hillary would stand cancelled. The message was starkly clear a la George Bush: You are either with us or against us. So be it, Qureshi is reported to have told the ambassador and even cancelled his trip altogether. The chief of the army staff went instead to Munich and that is an appointment that even the US secretary of state cannot cancel, Davis or no Davis.

Once Qureshi ignored the latest Hillary communique, the Americans stopped talking to him altogether because it had now become evident that Qureshi was not going to budge on his stance of Davis not being eligible for full diplomatic immunity. Qureshi was no longer a welcome dinner guest and neither could he be allowed to remain in office. The last thing Washington can afford is his having a Pakistani foreign minister with a reawakened conscience.

According to highly reliable sources, the next claimed scalp may be that of the equally intransigent (from American perspective), Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir who is now the only remaining top level hurdle in the apprehended shameless handover of Davis by a compromised political leadership. The foreign secretary is also of the considered firm view that Davis does not qualify for full immunity. And there are legitimate causes for this argument, which were further exposed by glaring inconsistencies in the forever changing US stance on the issue.

Owing to the paucity of space, irrefutable arguments proving Davis’ ineligibility are not being reproduced here and also because a lot has already been written on the legal aspects of the subject, including the highlighted fact that in the initial reaction by US authorities, Raymond Davis was identified as merely an “employee” of the US Consulate in Lahore, but never as a diplomat. He was referred to as an employee and not a consulate general official. “It was a simple clerical error” was the incredulous justification offered by two senior members of the Islamabad embassy in an off-the-record conversation with the scribe. But it gets even better.

A lot is being made by the Americans and their interlocutors of the January 20, 2010 communication of the Islamabad embassy wherein the FO had been asked for the issuance of a non-diplomatic identity card for Davis. It is being argued that this communication clearly identifies Raymond Davis as being administrative and technical staff of Islamabad embassy and therefore automatically eligible for diplomatic immunity. But this is only half the story.

Certain discrepancies in 2010 had already caused the Foreign Office to seek clarifications. In Sept 2009, the US State Department had originally identified him as technical advisor (contractor) going on “official business” while applying for his visa. Later he was attached to US Consulate Lahore as an employee. So when his name popped up again in January 2010, identifying him as being attached with the US Embassy Islamabad, the FO wanted answers to some very pertinent questions. The relevant FO officials repeatedly asked the US embassy to provide the details of Davis’ new responsibilities along with those of his past postings. When weeks had passed with the embassy avoiding a categorical clarification on this count, the FO finally sent a formal Note Verbale to the US embassy on July 8, 2010. It bore ref no: P(1-A)/2009-ID(USA). This note pertained to a total of ten Americans about whom similar details were being sought from the embassy but no response had been forthcoming from the US end. Davis was listed as Note No:252/HR. When FO authorities were asked about the presence of 2009 in the reference number of the note verbale otherwise sent on July 8, 2010, they clarified that it was perfectly in accordance with their internal filing sequence and did not reflect any anomaly.

Unable to cover this critical gap in their argument to secure Davis’ release on the afterthought alibi of diplomatic immunity, the US embassy has adopted the rather incredulous argument of denying outright the existence of this critical correspondence. The FO has been told at the highest level that the US embassy never received this Note Verbale. The two senior functionaries stuck to the denial mantra when asked by The News about the embassy’s refusal to divulge the real assignments and other details of Davis and nine others. They insisted that all the embassy records had been thoroughly checked but there was no evidence of the cited note verbale ever being received. When they were told that the July 8 note was present in FO records and its existence and its having been sent to US embassy was recorded in more than one place and constituted a process that could not be tampered with within hours of an event taking place, the duo took the reference number of the ‘missing note’ to ostensibly try locating it from their records. This raises an interesting question: if they still needed the reference number at this stage, then how did they even check their records earlier?

Can you name a single other incidence where prior to this particular note verbale or since, any note verbale sent by FO to the US embassy has ever gone missing? the two functionaries were asked. Not surprisingly, the duo could not cite a single such incidence.

Interesting coincidence one must say, where the entire US administration makes critical clerical errors which only expose Davis as being a non-diplomat. Another interesting coincidence again, when only one specific official communication out of hundreds of similar exchanges goes missing, and which once again stood to expose Raymond Davis for being anything but a legitimate diplomat on a legitimate diplomatic assignment.
NOTE:This is a cross post from THE NEWS:

http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=3939&Cat=13&dt=2/12/2011

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Comments

  • Syed Ataur Rahman  On February 12, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    The Americans treat the Pakistanis like dirt. The only person they have no choice but to be respectful is probably the Army Chief. They know they cannot do much without the Armed forces support in whatever they are doing in Afghanistan and Pakistani FATA area.
    The unscrupulous and deceitful US government thinks they can get away with anything including murder, which they have been incredulously and shamelessly performing in the self created area of conflict. But times have changed and things are changing fast for USA and their most important ally Israel. Don’t they all see the writing on the wall? Their stooges have been shunted out right in front of their eyes.
    US’s Pakistani lackeys will not be an exception. If what the writer says is true, then both the FM and his deputy the Foreign Secretary are showing admirable resolve in the face of extreme American pressure. For once they showed that there are Pakistanis who will stand up to the imperial dictates. We Pakistanis admire these brave and principled men.
    What more can the Americans do to us? They have already destabilized the country, made us entirely dependent on international aid, alienated our own people, killed hundreds in the name of ‘war against Al-Qaeda’ to name a few. It is time a strong National Government to take stock of the situation and adopt policies that suit our country. Our path will not be easy but we cannot sink more and things cannot get worse for our countrymen. These are momentous times and momentous decisions have to be made. Let us not be discouraged or frightened. let us take brave decisions, it is high time and probably a good time to so.

  • Salman Abbasy  On February 12, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    The full impact of what gates the NRO opened and what kind of vile creatures crawled through them into Pakistan is only now beginning to emerge in full awfulness. BB has paid the price for her ruthless self-interest and subsequent volte face. But there must be a reckoning for all other significant actors who put Pakistan last. Nobody must be spared.

  • Syed Masud  On February 12, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    They are not impotent. They are doing it of their own will. That’s why they are there.

    Masud

  • Bajwa  On February 12, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    A nice fascinating story. Thanks.

    May be Qureshi was getting too popular for someone from Multan.Or is the Punjab government pulling Z/G leg by kicking off court procedures too quickely.

    A.Bajwa

  • Tanvir Ahmed Siddiqui  On February 12, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    These scare crows and weather cocks within our columns are fluttering around desperately to warn us all with fatal consequences that in case we do not succumb and do not comply to growing and growling American demand of release of their tyrant and professional killer. In case we refrain to do so, resultantly a country named Pakistan will be bulldozed from the world map and every man identified anywhere as Pakistani will be wiped out and swept off from the planet earth. No matter how much legal or illegal their stance is, no matter how genuine their demand is, no matter how much justified and unjustified their claim is, and no matter how much fair and unfair their stand is. Come what may they yell that we have to succumb, surrender and have to hand over that tyrant. We otherwise will lose everything like our jobs, wealth, status, air, oxygen, water, light, food, cloth, medicines, shelter, land, life and what not? This fear mechanism since ever here there and everywhere has always forced the weak to succumb and surrender in hands of strong. Once again this fear mechanism being applied on those poor to submit to their authority. This manipulation mechanism and technique of controlling human mind especially through in-house, home grown elements who live like rabbits in continued fear of loss in any society to always make the job of usurpers and suppressers much easier. This fear mechanism technique was exercised on us on 28th May 2003, thereafter 9/11 and now being applied once again for release of thier killer named Raymond Davis.
    I agree that dichotomy of Might is Right may still prevail for sometime more but despite all our odds, our short comings, our handicaps, our apprehensions and imperfections let us altogether do not make the things for them so simple and so easy this time. My dear friends, when will be that time when we individually and collectively as Pakistanis would hold our spine to find the real reason and meaning of our existence in this worl? Are we all Born to Just die rather than to really Live for something and then Die? Let us all this time as anation have our hearts and feel the feel of our own earth under our feet. Whatever will be will be, but still our future generation will ask from the history “ For What the hell was the purpose we as their Fathers were born for and the way how we responded to the demand of the moment?.

    My dear friends let us now take advantage and mileage out of this Change of time and wind to show the world that enough is now enough for us as well. High time now we need to demonstrate our national resolve mainly because the case of America this time is not only morally but legally very weak and the Elephant’s pedestal seem to have stuck in the loop of his own spread net of traps.

  • Riaz Jafri  On February 13, 2011 at 1:51 am

    Ever noticed that drones are not striking since Raymond’s arrest??!!

    Col. Riaz Jafri (Retd)

    • Syed Masud  On February 13, 2011 at 1:52 am

      But too many bombings all over the country?

      Masud

  • Nasim Hassan  On February 13, 2011 at 1:54 am

    In this case the USA is not following its own preaching of human rights, justice and the rule of law. They have made many mistakes in handling this issue.

    If Pakistan hands over Raymond Davis at this time then Zardari and all of his minister will not survive in Pakistan. They will run away like Husni Mubarik because only a trigger is required for anti- American sentiments in Pakistan.

    Shah Mahmud Qureshi has shown more spine than his fellow Pir o Murshid Jeelani.

    Nasim Hassan

  • AM  On February 13, 2011 at 1:54 am

    HATS OFF TO QURESHI!! FOR A CHANGE. NOW I IN PERON SUPPORT HIM AS GILANIS REPLACEMENT. THE PURPOSE OF CABINET RESHUFFLE WAS AN EYE WASH ONLY TO PASS A MESSAGE TO THE REST- “BOW TO THE US OR OTHERWISE UR FATE WILL BE AS OF QURESHI” – THE ONLY REASONABLY COMPETENT MINISTER IN THE GROUP OF ALL INCAPOOPS.
    am

    • Shakeel Cheema  On February 13, 2011 at 1:55 am

      Dear All,

      We all know the end of Raymand Davis case but only a democratic government (I am not defending this government) can resist to some extent, otherwise we know a single phone call is enough for us.

      At least, at least someone showed the courage.

      Regards,
      Shakeel Ashraf Cheema

    • Arif Khan  On February 13, 2011 at 5:38 am

      Dear am How can you say that about GILANI, he has such HIGH I.Q and is a Jack of all Trades master of NONE….He speaks 3 Languages, English, Urdu and Sarakai all with great difficulty… Multan is the “HUB OF INBREEDING” Arif Khan

  • Parvez Amin  On February 13, 2011 at 1:55 am

    Shah Mahmud Qureshi took the right stand. Raymond Davis clearly does not appear to be a diplomat, but let us wait for the decision of our courts. Raymond Davis must face trial according to Pakistani laws and procedures. Kowtowing to America is only done by traitors to Pakistan. These are blunt statements and meant to be that way. The man in the street in Pakistan has had enough. If the US cannot see that, too bad for them.

  • S U Turkman  On February 13, 2011 at 2:53 am

    Allah be witness, how much your Ommah in Pakistan loves its Armed Robbers and hates Americans, on who’s Charity of Aid Pakistan has been living off since 1953 and Loans (that Pakistan has not paid back a Penny and some of them have been written off by USA) since 1955 …!
    Allah see, they have become more characterless than, who you had called ‘Koffaar’ in Qoraan …!
    Wullahol Azim …!

  • Javed Chaudjry  On February 13, 2011 at 5:41 am

    My understanding is that Qureshi refused to go along with Zardari about the case of the American terrorist Davis. It is important for Zardari to deliver whatever the masters in Washington ask for. Now the round table conference is another possible way to confuse the facts, get many people involved and spread the decision responsibility on to many in order to free the terrorist. Zardari is hoping that those who voted for him to elect him as their president, will not disappoint him. I suppose Qureshi was educated and smart in the lot – that could yet be another reason for him to be odd man out where most are intellectually challenged.

    Javed

    • Lok Sanjh  On February 14, 2011 at 1:27 am

      Probably not good time for Qureshis and Hashmis of Multan. PML-N sidelined Javed Hashmi was one of the few in PML-N who could question the leadership decisions….and Qureshi probably said NO to the Co-Chairman of PPP.
      Best,
      Shahid Zia

      • AM  On February 15, 2011 at 12:10 pm

        The goons of the PPP have started to dance at the tune of their master. They have started to castigate Ex FM Qureshi and turned their loudspeakers unifocussed towards him. They are the greatest idiots and I have no other words to say to them while sitting away from my country. The fact that Qureshi was removed on friday whereas the FIR against Musharraf was initiatedon saturday. They – the PP- jokers are the liras and as some one said that there are”Lies, damn lies and PPP”
        I only hope that some jiyalas are on the blog to convey to their masters and also the goons of MNS and the chaudhries to stop playing politics all the time belittling him and her but do something substantive for the country and the nation.
        Qureshi has done a noble thing and I have all the praise for him for this one act. Otheer than this he ha not been reputed to be involved in any money making act or any racket as others – and now in tge cBINET – HAVE BEEN IN THE HABIT OF
        am

  • Admiral Iftikhar A. Sirohey  On February 13, 2011 at 7:54 am

    Mr Qureshi should feel proud of his stand.

    IAS

  • K Qureshi  On February 13, 2011 at 9:28 am

    HER SHAAKH PEH ULOO BEITHA HAYEMAANJAM-i-GULISTAAN KIYA HO GA

  • Ahmad Shaheen  On February 13, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    If it is true then Shah Mahmood Qureshi is really a nice person. His today’s statement is very important in which he clearly said that Devis was not a diplomat. And another important thing is statement by “Aapa Firdoos AASHIQ Awaan”… She totally talked against the Qureshi today…. this shows the divided lines between PpPp….

  • S U Turkman  On February 14, 2011 at 1:26 am

    And what the so called ‘Masters in Washington’ want besides Pakistan …
    .
    * … following International Law?
    * … doing what she promised to get Export Concessions to triple her exports, more than $ 10 billion in Charity called Aid and $ 20 billion in Loans to more than double her GDP, Per Capita Income etc.?
    * … stop training Youth recruited by Mollaas all over the world in its JehaaDi Terrorist Training Camps to defame Islam more?
    * … stop terrorizing India and resolve Kashmir Issue instead of spending half to 3/4th of Budget of Poor Pakistanis on Military?
    * … to advance enough so, it stops begging for more money.
    * … to increase Literacy Rate so people are not so stupid by US Charity for Education.
    * … to increase spending on Health & Human services by US Charity for that.
    .
    If that’s not all of this about please tell us what USA can steal from Pakistan that she already does not have with $ 14 trillion Economy.
    Provide some evidence that USA has stolen anything from Pakistan or any other country in this world so far despite having her Army in Europe and Japan since WW II and in S Korea since 1953 …!
    All you Anti Americans are ‘Nmak Hraam’ thankless people hiding your failures by diverting attention of Masses outwards blaming it all on rest of the world. Zardari is now being blamed for being a Stooge of USA despite being Elected by your own votes because he did not turn out to be as obedient as Army had though and it has nothing to do with what Pakistanis want. .

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