ISLAMABAD - Interior Minister Rehman Maliks meeting with Saudi Ambassador to Pakistan Abdul Aziz bin Ibrahim al Ghadeer on Wednesday raised a question about the likely role of Saudi Arabia in the release of double murder accused US national Raymond Davis- a possibility which was also hinted at by the Prime Minister Gilani during a meeting with senior journalists in Lahore, the other day.
Informed insiders privy to this development shared with The Nation that the Saudi Envoy had offered to facilitate Umrah for the bereaved families who lost their family members at the hands of CIA agent Raymond Davis in cold-blooded murder saga on January 27 this year. The Interior Minister and the Saudi Envoy reportedly discussed the options to pave way for Raymonds release. The possibility regarding the payment of heavy compensation to the families of Faheem, Faizan and Ibaad-ur-Rehman, in order to give Davis a safe passage, was also discussed by both the officials.
When asked, a senior Saudi official laughed off this scribes queries regarding the reported offer made by the Saudi Ambassador during Wednesdays meeting. When insistently asked for tentative details, the official neither confirmed nor denied this information and said, There are certain things that cant be commented on, not even tentatively, asked if it meant that the information this scribe had was credible, the Saudi official laughed again and said, Have it your way. I have given a statement, its up to you to interpret unless you dont name me in your story.
However, Interior Minister Rehman Malik denied that Saudi Envoy Abdul Aziz bin Ibrahim al Ghadeer put any such offer before him in the meeting. No sir, it is wrong, the minister wrote in brief response to this journalists text message asking the minister if he could comment on the information that the Saudi Envoy offered to facilitate Umrah for the victim families of Lahore incident.
Recently, the Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani had hinted at the possible role of Saudi government in 'solving the Raymond Davis issue during an informal interactive session with senior journalists from national media in Lahore.
According to the sources, after the US Embassy and Pakistans Interior Ministry failed to lure the victim families with hefty compensation including US nationalities, millions of dollars and other 'rewards, both the US and Pakistan are seeking Saudi Arabias help on the grounds that the Muslim country could attract sympathetic consideration of the bereaved families using the religion card and 'soften their principled stance. In protest against the 'royal treatment extended to Raymond Davis in Kot Lakhpat Jail Lahore, Faheems widow had committed suicide last month. The other family members of the three slain Pakistanis are allegedly facing threats by the US authorities to accept compensation against loss of lives.
The Interior Ministry in its official statement regarding Wednesdays meeting stated that Pakistan and Saudi Arabia Agreed to introduce an effective checking system to curb drugs smuggling besides taking severe action against smugglers.