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American experts arrive in Pak to provide legal aid to Davis

Last updated: 05 March, 2011
Islamabad, Mar 5 (PTI) 18:32 IST

Two American experts arrived in Pakistan today to provide legal aid to a US embassy official on trial for shooting and killing two armed men in Lahore in January, according to media reports.

The detention of private security contractor Raymond Davis triggered a serious diplomatic row between Pakistan and the US and ties between intelligence agencies of the two countries have plunged to a new low.

The US hired three Pakistani lawyers to defend Davis, whose claim of diplomatic immunity has been rejected by a court in Lahore. Sensing that Pakistani courts will proceed against Davis, the US has now sent two legal experts to aid him, TV news channels reported.

The American experts will meet Davis at Kot Lakhpat Jail in Lahore, where he is being held, and discuss the cases against him, the reports said. In addition, the experts will hold a meeting with the families of the men killed by Davis, the reports said.

The US is reportedly trying to seek a solution to Davis' case under Islamic laws, which allow such matters to be settled through a "blood money" deal, sources close the families said.

The US diplomats have reportedly contacted the families and offered 'diyat' or compensation paid to the heirs of a dead person. The Pakistan government is under pressure from the US to free Davis but it is also facing internal pressure as opposition parties have demanded that he should be punished.

The Lahore High Court has stopped the government from releasing Davis. It will take up a case on Davis' diplomatic status on March 14. The Foreign Ministry is expected to inform the High Court whether Davis enjoys diplomatic immunity.

Former Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, who apparently lost his slot in the cabinet due to his stand on the issue of Davis, has said that the American does not have "blanket immunity".

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