The PPP government is at a crossroads once again. As in the case of the restoration of judiciary, it must choose between pleasing its perceived master, the United States, or the Pakistani public that it claims to represent. The signs are not good. After beating about the bush for a week, it seems the government, under mounting American pressure, is preparing the ground for releasing the double-murderer Raymond Davis on the pretext of diplomatic immunity. If better sense does not prevail, it could be the last nail in the governments coffin. It was shocking to see Interior Minister Rehman Malik emphatically state that the murderer has a diplomatic passport, reinforcing the American position that he enjoyed diplomatic immunity and should be handed over to them immediately. Why the Interior Minister felt the need to make statements about an issue that is to be decided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs should not be a mystery. His Ministry has been covering up and protecting American nationals involved in illegal activities in the capital, as a matter of routine. Even more worrisome is the procrastination of the Foreign Office that is taking forever to decide about the status of the dubious American. The media has brought to light evidence that clearly shows that he is not a diplomat, but the Foreign Office is creating confusion around the issue by delaying its verdict that, in a sensitive case like this, is inexcusable. Several federal ministers are giving their own spins and President Zardari has warned those expressing solidarity with the families of the victims and demanding justice, not to politicise the issue. The pressure from the American Embassy and the congressional delegation seems to be working. We have seen all this before in the run up to the restoration of judiciary by a reluctant government. Similar attempts were made to create confusion around a simple matter. The main issue at hand was pushed in the background, while irrelevant technicalities and half-baked arguments were advanced to defeat the will of the people. People and opposition parties agitating the issue and protesting were criticised for politicising the matter. President Zardari is on record to have told the nation that he could not restore the judiciary, because he had given an assurance to that effect to his foreign friends. If there were any doubts regarding the identity of those foreign friends, the WikiLeaks have brought it all out in the open. At the end of the day, despite the assurances and spin-doctoring, the coercive antics of the state and Machiavellian tactics of dividing the judges, the government was forced to eat its public statements and clandestine promises, and bow to the will of the people. But President Zardari and his team has apparently learnt nothing from that mistake. In the present case, they are confronted with the same dilemma; to please the American masters or do the right thing as expected by the people of Pakistan. And going by the way the PPP-government is handling the issue, it seems it is headed for a similar disaster, eager as it is to do the needful for its American masters. So disconnected it is from the people in whose name it governs that no representative of the federal government has even as much as visited the families of the victims for condolences. It is an indication of where its heart and priorities lie. Otherwise, it is not a very complicated matter. The question of whether the murderer was entitled to diplomatic immunity or not is irrelevant. His crime and subsequent behaviour cannot be justified by any yardstick or under any convention. Diplomatic immunity cannot be used to perpetrate acts of terrorism. And in cases of individuals involved in the sort of serious criminal behaviour that we witnessed in Lahore, the immunity can and should be revoked. In any case, it is obvious that the murderer is not a diplomat. Even if a diplomatic status is conjured up for him by the American Embassy in connivance with the Foreign Office, the government should revoke it considering the seriousness of his crime, which many see as an act of terrorism. The United States that claims to be the torchbearer of human rights, democracy, freedom and all good things under the sun has been exposed yet again [in the Raymond Davis case], though its duplicity does not require any more confirmation. In its typical bullying style, it would like to throw reason, logic or any notion of fairplay out of the window in order to protect its guy, someone who shot two men with an unlicensed gun in broad daylight, took pictures of them dying and ran away from the scene of crime, injured a dozen innocent citizens, as he tried to flee like James Bond, and when captured by the police, pointed a gun at them. What a diplomat Of course, we must not forget the other murderers who are still at large; those who hit Obaidur Rehman, and crushed him under the wheels of their SUV as they ran. Shopkeepers around the area say that the vehicle, speeding on the wrong side of the road, hit the motorcyclist, and when people flocked around it, three foreigners pulled their guns at them, reversed the car and ran over the injured Obaid, killing him on the spot. The American Consulate has not handed over the absconding killers and is mum on the issue. Were they diplomats as well? And, more importantly, do diplomats have the licence to hit and run? The people of Pakistan are not taken in by the debate over the status of either Raymond Davis or his associate killers. To them, it is clear that they have committed very serious crimes and that they must be punished for them, diplomats or not. The American Embassy and the federal government might think that by creating this irrelevant debate about immunity under the Vienna Convention, theyd be able to throw dust in the eyes of the nation and manage the release of the apprehended criminal. They might think that theyd be able to brush the other absconding killers under the carpet, and the people will forget about them. But it might not be that easy. People are watching closely how the whole affair is being handled, and they are not satisfied with how the government has conducted itself so far. If the government does not mend its slavish ways and succumbs to the American pressure once again, it will have serious repercussions for its survival. The writer is a freelance columnist.