Friday, February 18, 2011

Punjab fears Davis may be killed — even by CIA

International News
By Ansar Abbasi Saturday, February 19, 2011
ISLAMABAD: Apprehensions about a possible attempt on the life of Raymond Davis, including even by Americans themselves, have compelled the authorities in Lahore to boost his security and keep him at some distance from the US officials as well.

Fearing that the high profile prisoner may be killed, extraordinary security measures have been undertaken. These measures include limiting physical contact of Davis with even US officials and diplomats.

According to official sources, a directive has been issued to strictly check the food provided to the American killer. “A food committee has been constituted, which would ensure that he is not provided poisoned food in the jail,” a source said.

The source disclosed that the jail authorities had also been directed not to allow Davis any food from outside, including one sent by the US Consulate. “Even chocolates, brought by the US officials, would not be provided to Davis,” the source said, adding that surveillance cameras had also been installed zeroing in on Davis in the Kot Lakhpat Jail.

“We were asked to remove the surveillance cameras, installed to constantly monitor Davis, but we declined to do so because it is critical for his security,” the source said, explaining, “We can’t take any risk, we can’t rule out any possibility, we can’t afford to be lenient in any manner.”

Additionally, it has also been decided to avoid physical contact between Davis and US officials, who visit him as part of consular access facility allowed to him. His visitors would now be allowed to interact with him from across a glass wall, as it happens in the West and the US.

The authorities seriously apprehend that anyone, including US intelligence agencies, might try to kill the man, who despite being a technical assistant has the kind of importance that President Obama had to seek his early release and influential Senator John Kerry rushed to Pakistan and met all the important figures here to take him back to the United States as soon as possible.

Officials here wonder as to what was so special about Raymond Davis that Washington has simply panicked after his arrest. It is said that his activities, his actions, his extraordinary marksmanship, his possessions, including sophisticated weapon, ammunition, GPS, etc, and his physical build-up, show he is not what he claims to be. “Why the United States is so desperate to get him released immediately,” the source asked.

US Embassy Spokesperson Courtney Beale, when asked about the growing apprehensions of Pakistani authorities about the security of Davis and that even suspicions centred around US intelligence agencies, said, “This is ridiculous, and a mere conspiracy theory."

“The US would never ever want any of its diplomats to be killed,” she said, adding that those apprehending such an act from the United States, do not need to fear this. Already, the Punjab government has deployed multiple security cordons, including that of Rangers, at the Kot Lakhpat Jail to pre-empt a possible Hollywood-style sting operation by the US forces to get Raymond Davis released.

The Punjab authorities were apprehending that in sheer frustration, the Americans could conduct a sting operation. Thus they had taken all security measures. The security of Davis has been increased while keeping in mind all possibilities, including an assault on him, a terrorist attack and even a strike by the US commandos to get him forcibly released or killed.

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