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Editor speaks on Pakistan Special Issue

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The Raymond Davis affair truly captures the current situation, predicament, of Pakistan like no other has done in the recent past. A perplexing incident that leaves more questions unanswered than it reveals. The shadowy operations that the Pakistani intelligence agencies undertake with their counterparts from the United States of America. The loss of Pakistani lives in circumstances that were as mysterious as they are avoidable. Then the whole drama about the legal status of Raymond Davis, diplomatic or otherwise. Passions heightened by the selectivity of media leaks that ranged from the conspiratorial to the bizarre. Vast public participation in the case as a daily dose of legalese, international relations and national security affairs. A last minute change of legal representatives for the victim families. And the closing chapter in which the acquittal happened by recourse to Shari’a law that has the country in a bind in any case. All of this finally ended with the flight out of Pakistan for Raymond Davis and family members of those that died from his gunfire.

All of this happened in the bright glare of media attention, but for the final closing chapter that was cloaked in a dramatic denouement that would have put even the most addicted conspiracy theorists to shame. There was a hype about the case that had the entire country riveted, even shutting out those that spoke for a different approach to relations with the greatest benefactor of Pakistan, the United States of America. The shrillness of the campaign to punish Raymond Davis was led by intelligence briefings and leaks to the media that bordered on being completely off the wall. Why a CIA contractor would want to take photographs of Pakistan army bunkers on the Indian border when better resolution images are available on US military satellites! This was amongst the more bizarre leaks that the Pakistani agencies indulged in. All the while raising hopes amongst the Pakistani public that their country was not going to succumb to the sustained pressure of the US to release a CIA contractor caught for murder. But all the while various organisations institutions and families in Pakistan were quietly cutting a deal with powers in Washington.

Amongst the more fantastic allegations flying around web world is the one about the Director General of the ISI getting yet another extension on account of this deal. He was clearly in the picture as negotiations began to unravel a seriously vexing issue. As were the two main political parties in Pakistan, who joined hands with the army leadership in finding a way out of this maze. The judiciary were in the loop, of course. And a lawyer to do the final bidding with the families. None of this was in the know of the people of Pakistan, who had been fed on strange stories about Pakistani bunkers being compromised et al. Since Shari’a law was used to arrive at a settlement even the highly vocal mullahs can’t say much about it. There were deals with various players, but for the people of Pakistan and that is the reality of that country today.

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