Pakistani protesters shout slogans during legal proceedings against CIA contractor Raymond Davis in Lahore - AFP

Raymond Allen Davis is a former United States Army soldier, private security firm employee, and contractor with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). On January 27, 2011, Davis killed two reportedly armed men in Lahore, Pakistan. Although the U.S. government contended that he was protected by diplomatic immunity because of his employment with the U.S. Consulate in Lahore, Davis was jailed and criminally charged by Pakistani authorities with double murder and the illegal possession of a firearm. A third Pakistani man was also killed “in a hit and run” when a car sped down the wrong side of the road on its way to aid Davis. On March 16, 2011, Davis was released after the families of the two killed men were paid $2.4 million in diyya (a form of monetary compensation or blood money). Judges then acquitted him on all charges and Davis immediately departed Pakistan.

The incident led to a diplomatic furor and deterioration in Pakistan – United States relations. A major focus of the incident was the U.S.’s assertion that Davis was protected under the principle of diplomatic immunity due to his role as an “administrative and technical official” attached to the Lahore consulate. The U.S. government claimed that Davis was protected under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and demanded he be released from custody immediately. President Barack Obama asked Pakistan not to prosecute Davis and recognize him as a diplomat, stating, “There’s a broader principle at stake that I think we have to uphold.” The Pakistani officials disputed the claim of immunity from a murder charge, asserting that Davis was involved in clandestine operations, and questioned the scope of his activities in Pakistan. The Pakistani Foreign Office stated that “this matter is sub judice in a court of law and the legal process should be respected.” Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi stated that, according to official records and experts in the Foreign Office, Davis was “not a diplomat and cannot be given blanket diplomatic immunity”; Qureshi’s stand on the issue allegedly led to him losing the Foreign Affairs ministerial post.

The incident led to widespread protests in Pakistan demanding action against Davis.

Almost a month after the incident, U.S. officials revealed Davis was a contractor for the CIA after it was reported in the The Guardian. According to The Telegraph, he was acting head of the CIA in Pakistan.

An unnamed official with the Pakistani intelligence agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) stated that Davis had contacts in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas along the Afghanistan border and knew both the men he shot. He said the ISI is investigating the possibility that the encounter on the streets of Lahore stemmed from a meeting or from threats to Davis. Some media outlets have suggested, according to anonymous sources, that data retrieved from Davis’ phones and GPS device had been to Islamabad, Lahore, Peshawar and some tribal areas of the country, areas that have been the subject of U.S. drone attacks. These attacks were interrupted for several weeks after Davis’ arrest before resuming on March 18, 2011 in an attack at Datta Khel.

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