ISLAMABAD: Terming CIA contractor Raymond Davis’s book, The Contractor, a pack of lies, former interior minister Rehman Malik has claimed that India’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) had paid Davis to write the book in order to malign Pakistan’s army and democratic institutions.
Mr Malik, who was interior minister in 2011 when Davis was acquitted of shooting two people in Lahore, issued a detailed statement on Thursday regarding so far undisclosed developments that had unfolded in the aftermath of Davis’s arrest.
Mr Malik claimed that the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) government and the military establishment had decided not to release Davis till he was acquitted by a court of law. “A high-level meeting had decided that neither would Davis be deported nor would he be granted diplomatic immunity, and that we would wait for the decision of the court in the matter and no action would be taken through any executive order,” he said, adding that the name of Davis had been placed on the Exit Control List immediately.
He said that later in a meeting at the President House, the then Inter-Services Intelligence director general, Gen Shuja Pasha, had told the political leadership that the Americans wanted to exercise the right of Diyat (blood money) under Islamic law. “The matter was dealt with the cooperation of the Punjab government, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Interior,” he said.
Former interior minister defends then ISI chief
Commenting on Davis’s claim regarding Gen Pasha’s role in pushing for diplomatic immunity, Mr Malik said: “No such role was played by the then ISI DG in the release of Raymond Davis, as claimed in his controversial book,” said the PPP senator.
He urged the nation not to fall prey to Indian conspiracies and not to project Davis as a hero. “He is nothing but an agent to the RAW,” he claimed. “I have documentary proof that Davis was approached by Indian agency RAW’s Additional Secretary Jagnathan Kumar for writing the book The Contractor in order to malign Pakistan’s premier agency ISI, the Pakistan military and the civilian leadership,” he said.
Mr Malik claimed that after returning to the US, Davis had fallen on hard times and had attempted suicide several times. “Only last year, Raymond Davis was under a huge debt of $700,000 and his wife Rebecca has taken separation from him. Due to his miserable financial condition, he became an easy prey and was sponsored by RAW and the book was written through a ghostwriter.”
He said he was astonished how an impoverished Davis had decided to circulate a free PDF version of his book on the internet and via WhatsApp.
Earlier, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf general secretary Shah Mehmood Qureshi, the then foreign minister, had claimed that he had resigned from the ministry on the issue of immunity granted to Davis. Commenting on this, Mr Malik said: “I would like to clarify that nobody wanted to give immunity to the US spy as claimed by Mr Qureshi and that he never resigned from the ministry over the issue of Raymond Davis... prime minister Gilani had dissolved the cabinet on Feb 9, 2011 to reshuffle and Mr Qureshi was offered the portfolio of Ministry of Water & Power or Agriculture...in the presence of other cabinet members, he had resented and walked out insisting that he wanted to be foreign minister.”
He said Mr Qureshi had left the political party due to his own political gripes eight months after Davis’s acquittal.
The former interior ministry also revealed that back then he had been approached by Dr Fozia Siddiqui, sister of detained Afia Siddiqui, who had proposed that government consider an exchange of her sister with Davis.
“It was a good idea to get Siddiqui back to Pakistan, subject to the clearance of the court,” he added. “I had earlier gotten her two sons recovered from Afghanistan and handed them over to her family.” He said he had spoken about this to former US secretary of state John Kerry, who had promised to take up the matter with Washington. However, Mr Malik said, he never heard back from him on the subject.
Published in Dawn, July 7th, 2017