Raymond Davis, an American national who killed two Pakistanis in Lahore. — Photo by Reuters

ISLAMABAD: A Pakistani official is warning that US efforts to pressure Islamabad to release an American held for shooting dead two Pakistanis will be ''counterproductive.''

Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir also said Saturday that a meeting about the Afghan war in Washington later this month will likely be rescheduled because of the dispute over the American.

The US insists the American has diplomatic immunity and shot two Pakistani robbers in self-defense.

Pakistan has avoided verifying his diplomatic status and referred the case to the courts.

Bashir acknowledged that the Washington meetings will likely have to be rescheduled because of the Davis case.

The sessions, to be held during the week of Feb. 20, would have included Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and senior Pakistani and Afghan diplomats.

He noted that the US and Pakistan have a long history, and said it is ''unthinkable'' that one incident should strain the relationship. Still, he said, ''Any US pressure on the issue of Raymond Davis will be counterproductive.''

The foreign secretary went on to say that if he ever did something ''immoral and criminal,'' he wouldn't seek immunity.

But when asked to answer directly whether Davis has diplomatic immunity, Bashir refused to do so, saying it would be wrong to comment since the matter was in the courts.