This explanation about Raymond Davis’s immunity issue was shared on the Peoples Resistance Mailing list by Shalahudin Ahmed, a lawyer from Karachi. He shares with us an unbiased, no BS [sic] analysis of the issue at hand – TM
Pakistan is a signatory to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. The substance of both Conventions are part of Pakistani law through the Diplomatic & Consular Privileges Act 1972.
Under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, a diplomatic agent cannot be arrested or detained. Period. No exceptions. The same for members of the technical and administrative staff of a diplomatic mission.
Many other countries in the world have adopted this convention and usually hold to the same. Whether an ethical consideration or no, such a convention is also to protect the lives and property of each nation’s own diplomats.
Thus, if Pakistan was to prosecute a U.S. diplomat rightly accused of murder in Islamabad – what would stop the U.S. from bringing trumped-up terrorism charges against a Pakistani diplomat in Washington? The whole diplomatic system would be jeopardized.
Perhaps, the closest a country has been to ignoring the Convention was when someone fired a machine-gun from the Libyan embassy in London upon a crowd of protesters outside and killed an unarmed British police-woman as a result. The UK police laid siege to the embassy for more than a week (in itself a violation of the Convention). The British police were not allowed to enter the embassy and/or to waive diplomatic immunity for the Libyan embassy staff. The Libyan police were ordered to besiege the British Embassy in Tripoli. Eventually, the UK broke off diplomatic relations with Libya but the embassy staff was nevertheless allowed to return to Libya unhindered.
Pakistan could thus become an international pariah with such willfully violating of this Convention as to confer immunity upon such diplomats. A first step might be that all NATO countries (and other countries under US influence) would then withdraw their diplomatic missions from Pakistan citing ‘risks to personnel’.