Will S. Arabia broker a deal to repair Pakistan-US ties?

March 15, 2011

With the U.S.-Pakistan dispute over CIA contractor Raymond Davis stuck in Pakistani courts, newspapers are reporting that the two countries’ common ally, Saudi Arabia, may step in to defuse the deepening crisis between them.

The high court in Lahore, where Davis shot dead two people in what he said was an act of self-defence in January, on Monday declined to rule on whether he  has diplomatic immunity. The court referred the question of immunity to a criminal court which is dealing with murder charges against him.

Given Pakistan’s cumbersome legal system which takes years to resolve disputes, something which both the United States and Pakistan would like to avoid, Pakistani newspapers say  Saudi Arabia is playing a behind-the-scenes role to find an out of court settlement.

“All eyes on Saudi role in resolving Davis row,” read a headline in daily The News on March 9. 

According to the report, the Saudi government would try to resolve the issue in line with Qisas — an Islamic injunction which allows the settlement of murder cases through payment of blood-money to the relatives.

The News said Marc Grossman, the new U.S. envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan who replaced Richard Holbrooke, discussed the issue of payment of Qisas with Saudi authorities on the sidelines of an international conference in Jeddah earlier this month.

Titled “Saudi ambassador comes up with ‘Raymond offer’, daily The Nation reported that Saudi envoy to Pakistan, Abdul Aziz bin Ibrahim al Ghadeer, discussed the issue separately with Pakistan’s interior minister Rehman Malik last week.

Quoting unnamed “informed sources”, the paper said the Saudi government had offered to take the families to Mecca for a religious pilgrimage in an attempt to persuade them to accept the blood money in return for pardoning Davis.

The paper said a senior Saudi official neither confirmed nor denied the reports and said, “There are certain things that can’t be commented on, not even tentatively.” The government is tight-lipped over these reports though Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani was quoted as saying that Saudi role could not be ruled out if issue was to be resolved through Qisas law.

The Davis case has fuelled anti-Americanism in Pakistan and the weak government of President Asif Ali Zardari has been under tremendous pressure, particularly from hardline Islamist groups, to put Davis on trial for murder despite U.S. assertions that he enjoyed diplomatic immunity.

The case has also strained relations between the CIA and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency, which says it was unaware Davis was working in Pakistan.

But despite rising anti-Americanism and the ISI’s grievances, many analysts believe the issue can be resolved if the Saudi government, venerated as the custodian of Islam’s two holiest places, intervenes.

“The military is miffed with the CIA for taking them for a ride but they also realise the gravity of the situation if the standoff between Islamabad and Washington continues,” The News quoted a diplomat as saying.

“It is the clergy which has the street power but once the Saudi clergy prevails upon the mullahs here, a lot of give and take can take place.”

Comments

What are friends for? Would Saudi Arabia be willing to pay for the victims of Mumbai attacks on behalf of Pakistan?

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

What bribe eh.. Take the family to Mecca for Pilgrimage.. Saudi Arabia should be ashamed of themselves for acting like a P*** for the longest time.

Posted by tipu420 | Report as abusive
 

I believe Pakistan is waiting for right kind of package on this. Paying blood money isn’t sufficient. well, the demand from pakistan will be something like push the indians out of Afghanistan, more dollars for arming the military to the teeth against India. More money to fill their coffers. More support for Kashmir from the pseudo western intellectuals. Need to maintain parity by the west between india and pakistan. More money to fight and at the same time fund the same terrorists. If not, cargo and military supplies on its way to afghanistan will automatically blow up,terrorist attacks seem to increase and lack of interest in pakistan military for fight against the terrorists will be more than observed. west will again foolishly fall for this trap and start negotiating terms for Davis release while filling pakistan’s coffers and pakistani military laughing their way to the bank.

Posted by sensiblepatriot | Report as abusive
 

Pakistan is acting as Saudi Arabia’s watchman. I have read that Saudis have nuclear tipped missiles built by Pakistan. And they need Pakistan to counter the Shia dominated Iran. The happenings in Pakistan will be worrisome to them, especially friction involving the Americans. They need both for their survival – US for buying their oil and Pakistan for protecting their interests. They can easily bail Pakistan out of its economic misery if they wish.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

KP Singh said:

> They can easily bail Pakistan out of its economic misery if they wish.

It’s no just a matter of money or debt. You can’t transplant sound economic governance. In fact, one could argue that dependence upon foreign aid is what has led Pakistan to such a sorry economic state in the first place. There is no fiscal or monetary discipline – very poor tax coverage, poor investment in infrastructure, no spine to implement serious reform, a willingness to print money (and I don’t mean just fake Indian currency ;-) ), etc.

Any Saudi bailout will only postpone the inevitable. The Pakistanis really need to pull up their socks and fix their economy if they want to prevent serious suffering to their people in the next few years.

Regards,
Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive
 

“According to the report, the Saudi government would try to resolve the issue in line with Qisas — an Islamic injunction which allows the settlement of murder cases through payment of blood-money to the relatives.”

I would have to guess that in this particular case, a big chunk of the “blood-money” would be paid to Messrs. Kayani, Pasha, Zardari & Gilani.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

Ganesh: “You can’t transplant sound economic governance. In fact, one could argue that dependence upon foreign aid is what has led Pakistan to such a sorry economic state in the first place.”

For that matter even the Saudis lack similar skills on governance. One tribal family is holding the nation under its belt. All the money is with this family. But for the oil, they would be riding the camels. What they have is free wind fall. If they share a small percentage of it for their security guards in Pakistan, it does not appear any different. Saudi Arabia can fall into utter chaos too, despite the money they have. Beyond the money, they have no system in place. They are very worried about the youth revolution in Arab nations. They too are dependent on Western countries for everything else which are filling in their material needs.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

An article about the increasingly negative global image of Pakistan:

http://bit.ly/g84kvA

An excerpt: “Mexicans were more or less divided (29 per cent positive, 30 per cent negative), while even our steadfast allies, the Chinese, had a greater negative view of us than positive. Almost half the population of China (47 per cent) had a mainly negative view of Pakistan’s influence on the world while 37 per cent clung on to a positive assessment. Seems more like ‘deeper than the oceans’ rather than ‘higher than the Himalayas’ at the moment.

The countries where more than two-thirds of those surveyed held mainly negative feelings about Pakistan include the Philippines (79 per cent, obviously those tableeghi trips and employment opportunities for maids are not working out), France (77), Germany (76), the US (75), Brazil (75), Australia (74), Spain (72), Italy (70), India (68), UK (68) and Canada (67).”

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

Two surprises emerge from the above referrenced BBC poll:

1) The citizens of Pakistan’s all weather friend China, don’t really have a very good image of Pakistan with 47% having a negative perception & 37% having a positive one.

2) Out of the 16 countries polled, 8 countries have a worse perception of Pakistan, than India.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

Mortal1 said:

> 2) Out of the 16 countries polled, 8 countries have a worse perception of Pakistan, than India.

The RSS crowd will point to this and claim that Indian Muslims have lifted Pakistan’s rating. I think that may be only part of the reason. It’s very hard to completely dissociate oneself from a country that has a lot of cultural similarity, which is probably why the Indian view of Pakistan is softer than those of many other countries. In other words, we should equally blame all those sentimental Punjabis and Sindhis ;-) .

Regards,
Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive
 

What sort of comments one has to read and then ignore. Mexico is the most criminal country in the world and India has more poor mouths to feed than in any other part of the world. Saudi Arabia has more black tar in the world than in any other country. Never mind the people and their perception of other world. This is a smoke screen to bring out statistics to support their propaganda set up. Is there anyone who is not aware that BBC represents UK official foreign policyand is run by the UK tax payers money? Did some one say Saudis can help Pakistan overcome its economic miseries. Saudis have been doing this ever since Pakistan came into existance. If there is any one country which has the poorest image of Pakistan, then this is the Saudis family. Their hold on oil wealth is sooner or later coming to end, their military is now outside its borders to defend the Big Brothers fleet in Bahrain.
India should mind its own business and solve the problems millions are facing in making their livelihoods and Pakistan should get its people to work and not wait for the aid from one and another source. The world is watching with admiration how the Japanese are coping with the calamities one after another and there are no riots or looting, a common phenomina in every country in the world.

Never mind about Punjabis and Sindhis, Saudis are not able to broker deals between the people of Pakistan and the US Govt. Let us watch who is going to be the next in line in the series of murders in Pakistanß Any guess?

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

So Raymond Davis has finally been released: http://buswk.co/hMIsF5

It had to be a rather convoluted, face-saving solution, didn’t it? Something for everyone. And the West has realised at least one upside to Islamic law – the concept of “blood money” which lets people literally get away with murder.

Now I guess it’s back to business as usual?

Regards,
Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive
 

Keeping fingers crossed for no backlash from fundamentalists.

Posted by DaraIndia | Report as abusive
 

Is “blood money” not equal to selling life and more importantly the dignity of your loved one (actually, not so loved one) for money?? Or in this case its almost like selling Pakistan and Islam for money…food for thought!!

Posted by 777xxx777 | Report as abusive
 

The US will offer more blood money now in terms of financial aid to cool off public outrage (if that happens). It is also called ransom in my dictionary. Capture someone important to the US and then use it as a leverage to make gains. We will be seeing a lot more of that from now on. Pakistanis have figured out a way to make the US kneel.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

This deal was completed under Islamic law, Davis had the choice of going for trial under secular law.
Fox news is going to have a field day.

Posted by Matrixx | Report as abusive
 

Davis was lucky to escape from two murders. Davis had committed no crime against the state, so states the Islamic law, he must get the same punishment from the next of kin i.e being shot on the motor cycle or pay the so called blood money. He did the latter. Nw the whole world knows that neither in Pakistan nor in Saudi arabia, the state does not hang people for murder.

Rex Minor

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

Who cares for the dead, people get on with their lives. People who sit in palaces ave no dignity and those who can hardly survive in this world do motgage their dignity against money.
Those who sacrifise their lives for the family, community or even the state, are called radical suiciders. Fifty technical nuclear experts are currently doing this task in Japan to save their communities and the state, knowing very well that their survival is unlikely and death awaits them. On the other hand you have IAEA who have been asked for help and no one knows about their whereabouts? Heroism or stupidiy, radicalism or the call of duty to sacrifice? This remains the unanswered question of our times!!!

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

Amazing to see how these Islamist cave mullahs call radicalism as call of duty to sacrifice?? What have these radicals sacrificed, if I may ask?? What has LeT leaders sacrificed?? What has PA generals sacrificed?? What has Taliban sacrificed?? Saudi is next, just keep watching, these mullahs along with their Sharias will be burnt alive in Saudi, just wait and watch…

Posted by 777xxx777 | Report as abusive
 

Reuters Moderators/Technicians:

You guys really need to get working on an “Ignore” button for the commenters. We need to be spared of the psycho on the lose who seems to be constantly babbling & ranting to himslef. This is not a place where people drop in just because their shrink is on vacation.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

“Fox news is going to have a field day.” Posted by Matrixx

Fox news hardly cares about this (Raymond Davis) story & for that matter, nor do any other american chanels. It’s a big story in Pakistan but in the US, it has hardly recieved any coverage from the media. Pakistani urdu press, is probably the one, having field day(s) on the issue.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

BTW, Hillary Clinton has denied that any “blood-money” was paid to free Davis.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

Mortal
Normally I don’t search stories for people like you with head in the sand but here you go..

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2011/03/16/ pakistani-court-reportedly-frees-jailed- cia-contractor/

There are 1100 comments already. Happy.

Posted by Matrixx | Report as abusive
 

Mortal,

I have started ignoring the postings by the cave man from Germany. If everyone did the same, at some point he will lose interest. Looks like he is seeking attention. Just ignore him and do not respond to his postings. It is a suggestion to everyone. You can tell from his writings where there is no relevance to the topic on hand and what he writes.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

Hillary Clinton denies that any blood money was paid to get Davis acquitted. Yeah right! She also said that Bin Laden is hiding in Pakistan. At that time everyone jumped in and said she was lying.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

KP Singh
Hillary would be accused of accepting a deal under Islamic Law. Can you imagine the political ramifications and attacks from religious right.
What is another small lie compared to when Obama vouched that Davis is a diplomat.
Now this may open the door for Singh (the PM) to do a Diyat deal for another Singh rotting in same Pakistani jail for last 27 year, convicted on terror charges. Just a thought, knowing that highly moral people of Dilli would never stoop so low as to deal with a state on its last breath.

Posted by Matrixx | Report as abusive
 

Matrixx: “What is another small lie compared to when Obama vouched that Davis is a diplomat.”

Only lies work. Now it is a question of which is a bigger lie than the other. It has come to that. It is called international diplomacy.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

“Normally I don’t search stories for people like you with head in the sand but here you go..”

Yeah sure! I did not say that there was NO coverage on the issue. My point was that the importance of this story in the US, is nowhere near what it has recieved in Pakistan. In Pakistan it’s the main news headline of every newspaper & news chanel but that’s hardly the case in the US. I follow Fox news chanel, as well as CNN, MSNBC & others and besides the occasional reporting there hasn’t been any panel discussions, talk shows or special programming on the story. Fox news has also simply made a passing referrence & not really having “a field day” as you put it.

@KPSingh “I have started ignoring the postings by the cave man from Germany.”

I’ll be doing the same from mow on.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

“Davis was lucky to escape from two murders. Davis had committed no crime against the state, so states the Islamic law, he must get the same punishment from the next of kin i.e being shot on the motor cycle or pay the so called blood money. He did the latter. Nw the whole world knows that neither in Pakistan nor in Saudi arabia, the state does not hang people for murder.”

***Now the whole world knows that if Davis or anyone in his position did not have ~$1million/per victim’s family, he would have been “shot on the motor cycle”. So poor criminal gets shot and rich one gets away.

Posted by rehmat | Report as abusive
 

I’m a little confused about this “blood-money” Islamic law. Does this mean that any person, committing murder(s) in an Islamic country, can get away with it if he/she can afford the stipulated pay-off?

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

I have read on some news sites that part of the “blood money” comprises assistance to members of the victims’ families to settle in the US. This is really ironical on both sides.

1. The US has consistently said it will not negotiate or pay ransoms, yet it has in effect done so in this case. Hillary Clinton has stated that the US did not pay money, but in that case, who did? If the Pakistani government did it, there will be a backlash, unless this is being underwritten by the US aid package, in which case the US is paying anyway. And the “assistance to settle in the US” can only be offered by the US. So much for American principles.

2. Pakistanis criticise the US as an enemy, and some consider it a greater enemy than even India. Why then the desire to go and settle in such an evil country? So much for Pakistani principles.

There’s a lot that is said and done for public consumption, and something quite different that goes on behind the scenes.

Regards,
Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive
 

As someone who is opposed to the death penalty on principle, I actually like the concept of “blood money”, as it offers an alternative to state barbarity. But Rehmat’s question is very valid – what about people who cannot afford to pay?

Regards,
Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive
 

Some play with words – US visas can trump qisas: http://bit.ly/dzavOL

Regards,
Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive
 

If blood money of $2 mn has indeed been paid to the victims families, then it’s not a bad idea to let them move to the US. If they’re gonna spend that money somehwhere, let them spend it in the US & boost the economy ;)

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

The Raymond Davis Episode is nothing more than yet another Vintage Pakistani Drama.

The sequence is ALWAYS as follows:
1.Pick up fights, disputes with opponents underestimating the opponent’s strengths, exaggerating paki strengths.

2.Indulge in brinkmanship with verbal balderdash.

3.Finally yield without a whimper.

4. Deny the fact they ACTUALLY yielded, and deny they lost face.

5.Claim they stand taller and stronger than ever.

6.Continue more verbal balderdash until #1 again.

Posted by netizen | Report as abusive
 

@Rehmat
“Now the whole world knows that if Davis or anyone in his position did not have ~$1million/per victim’s family, he would have been “shot on the motor cycle”. So poor criminal gets shot and rich one gets away”

That’s Islam for you!! And then people blame capitalism for favouring rich. All rich under Islamic Law (Sharia its called I guess) go on murdering and looting and if and when get caught they pay blood money and “escape” punishment. I wonder why bicker about capitalism then?? At least capitalism, if properly managed and governed, gives everyone an equal opportunity to rise and be rich and live a decent life.

@Ganesh
“I actually like the concept of “blood money””

Are you saying pay the money in criminal cases (not civil cases of course) and escape punishment?? I think one of us have not correctly understood Rehmat’s intent with that statement of his.

Posted by 777xxx777 | Report as abusive
 

777xxx777 said:

> Are you saying pay the money in criminal cases (not civil cases of course) and escape punishment?? I think one of us have not correctly understood Rehmat’s intent with that statement of his.

Rehmat’s point related to the difference in the impact of the “blood money” law for rich and poor people. I completely agree on that point.

I also made an independent point (half in jest) that I approve of the “blood money” law because I disapprove of the death penalty, and anything that avoids that barbarity is to be welcomed. It doesn’t mean that I particularly approve of people paying money and walking away. In a country where the death penalty does not exist in the statute books, murderers must be punished, of course. The maximum punishment in that case would be life imprisonment.

Regards,
Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive
 

The problem is, whatever one says or explains, there are some smart alecs with low intelligence and low knowledge, who would try to reinterpret what is being said. No, the two million bounty is irrelevant, one can get awy by paying nothing if the next of kin forgives the murderer and efuse to take vengence, Nw compare this against the sick american society which expects from the state t han the murderer and even visit the chambers from where they watch the death sentence being executed. Or agree to accept millions as blood money for the death of their loved ones who were blown in the Lockaby air disaster allegedly ordered by the Ghaddafi Govt.? What is the difference? Is this not the blood money?
This is of secondry importance, not the question of ritch or poor. If one is unable to comprehend this then he should shut up and not make unnecessary and uncalled for comments. Try to learn to live with the reality. The only religion which requires its desciples to live in caves for meditation should not address others as Cave people. Be honest and try not to be the first to rant your unthoughtful commentry on any article. Your intelligence and knowledge is neither limitless nor superior to others? You continue to expose your limited grasp of the world events and this is not going to help you or others with your 24 hrs presence on this blog. Have some respect for the silent majority or request Reuters to rename this blog as ” India now or Never”

Rex Minor

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

Ganesh: “I disapprove of the death penalty, and anything that avoids that barbarity is to be welcomed.”

We are not living in an ideal world. Someone like Ajmal Kasab does not deserve life imprisonment. Keeping him in high security prison is very expensive. He has to be guarded against others and also guarded to prevent his escape. If he gets out he has no qualms about wreaking more havoc. He came to die killing others and fighting any resistance. If death penalty is wrong then all kinds of killings are wrong – euthanasia, shooting the enemy in a war. Deliberate intent to kill has to be punished. Life term is too mild for such punishments. Lethal injection is a humane way of punishing such criminals. The only issue to remember is to make sure that the wrong people do not get punished and it has happened. Jail term should only be for those who can be rehabilitated. Sometimes people make mistakes due to circumstances. They have a chance to repent and restart their lives. For them jail term is good punishment. But monsters have to be put to death.

I am not saying you are wrong. I am just mentioning my opinion.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

KP,

I used to think that way too but have changed my opinion after a few years in Australia. Now I believe that the State cannot have violence embedded in its laws, which is what the death penalty is, even if it is by a seemingly non-violent lethal injection. It just horrifies me. Individuals will always commit violent acts, but the State cannot do the same.

Euthanasia is a separate issue which cannot be easily correlated to this.

Regards,
Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive
 

In the case of Pakistan, the word sovereignty applies only when it confronts India, in hosting terrorists. As far US is concerned they have to take orders from the Masters. Pretending otherwise leads to emabarassments like this.

This episode is causing further rancor within the ranks of Pakistan Army as well:

http://tinyurl.com/4lb5dwm

Posted by netizen | Report as abusive
 

Ganesh,

In the same vein, wars cannot be waged. Armies can only be used to defend one’s country and not to invade others. Invading results in indiscriminate killing authorized by a state. Killing while defending becomes a necessity. There is no deliberate intent. But invading has an intent going with it. But countries have waged war to force their will on others. Until declaration of wars by countries becomes accepted as illegal, states have to be treated as criminals. Your adopted country Australia participates in wars with which it has no connection whatsoever.

I think there is a practical side to everything. In an ideal world, there will be no criminals and there will be no police or justice system needed. But we are not there yet.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

Netizen: “the word sovereignty applies only when it confronts India, in hosting terrorists. As far US is concerned they have to take orders from the Masters.”

Gora sahib logon ki baath alag hota hai. This is true all colonized people. They fight each other tooth and nail. But to the white masters they act differently. All hospitality is to the whites only. I have seen Indians ill treat Indians while sucking up to white people at the same time. Look at how they dealt with Mumbai attacks. If a similar attack had happened in New York, Pakistan would be working double time to get everything settled. When they demanded Pakistan, they said they could not live under Hindus. But they were willing to live under the British and massage their feet. Such is the inferiority complex.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

I am getting warm and fuzzy with this talk of forgiveness and refusal of vengeance by victim’s family as an explanation for getting away with murder without paying blood money. I wonder how many cases can be explained by this.

Calling “American society” as “sick” is as sick as calling Pakistani society as a terrorist society.

I see another gem floating
“The only religion which requires its desciples to live in caves for meditation”

Posted by rehmat | Report as abusive
 

@KPS
“I have seen Indians ill treat Indians while sucking up to white people at the same time.”

SADLY TRUE.

Posted by netizen | Report as abusive
 

@rehmat
“I see another gem floating”

I guess he just needs attention and therefore will go on typing any garbage he likes. On one hand he accuses others of limited knowledge and on other hands he himself exposes his own limited access to knowledge base. But good thing is that he is back to his ridiculous ways and providing us with more laughter.

BTW if he is objecting so much to Indians’ participation on this blog then he should ask Reuters to remove the hyper-link to this blog from ‘Reuters India’ web site.

@KP
“I have seen Indians ill treat Indians while sucking up to white people at the same time.”

I would say that happens in almost all societies that some out of lots would be willing to take sides with rich and famous at the cost of their own kin and brothers. Look at middle east for examples, there are plenty there.

Posted by 007XXX | Report as abusive
 

Thos who see garbage in information should not ak ovr the oleof a garbage collector. I also repeat those who do not understand their own relgion, should not try tospeakfor other religion. Let a sikh deny that he is not required to spend his meditation time in a cave? That the Indians have found Pakistan blog so attractive that by direct or indirect expect to have this space for their crusade is beyond me.

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

“That the Indians have found Pakistan blog so attractive that by direct or indirect expect to have this space for their crusade is beyond me.”

***Crusade! lol

Oh boy

Posted by rehmat | Report as abusive
 

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