Archive for March 17, 2011

The International Symposium on Cultural Diplomacy 2011 is being hosted to analyze these two developments: The sharing of power and responsibility horizontally, across national barriers, and vertically, between politicians and citizens

The 2011 conference will bring together renowned speakers from across the world to discuss how traditional concepts of power and influence are being redefined by globalization, the digital revolution and the emergence of social media. Held annually in Berlin, the program will consist of keynote speeches, lectures, and panel discussions that will provide the audience with an opportunity to gain insights, reflect on, discuss and debate the salient issues.

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Article selected by : Sikander A Baloch Report by Herald

Islamabad: Finally the cat is out of the bag! The long simmering diplomatic row between US and Pakistan is over. The two countries found a safe way out of the crisis as the joint Saudi-ISI-CIA mission was successful in saving the neck of US Embassy official, Raymond Davis who was accused in the double murder case in Lahore. And it was Islamic Sharia law of Qasas and Diyat, which came to the rescue of the US official. As the standoff, which had created tension between the two countries, came to an end, it was obvious who made the deal possible but it will be the politicians and the political governments at the center and the Punjab province who are to take the blame in the eyes of many.

“Wait, an out of box solution is finally reached and will be unleashed in a few hours” was the assertion of sources at Foreign Office of Pakistan just few hours before the news of Raymond’s release hit the media channels and social networks. Moments later, TV channels were telecasting the news through their breaking news alerts informing the public that Raymond Davis was pardoned by the aggrieved families of Fahim Shamshad and Faizan, the two young men shot dead by Raymond Davis on January 27th in Lahore, Pakistan.

Rana Sanaullah, the spokesman of the Government of Punjab, and the provincial law minister while confirming the news, maintained that US official Raymond Davis was released on court orders after the aggrieved families pardoned him after receiving blood money under Qasas and Diyat laws. He was bit confused on the amount paid as blood money and about the sources who provided that money. He, however, confirmed in a decisive tone and with surety that all the 18 legal and sharai heirs of Fahim and Faizan were present in the court and all of them in front of the judge pardoned Raymond Davis and then he was released.

A few minutes later Asad Manzoor Butt, a lawyer of the aggrieved families, claimed that he was kept in habeas corpus by jail authorities for few hours. He alleged that the signatures by the families were taken on gunpoint. It was his statement that created doubts regarding the whole story. Meanwhile along with the confirmed reports regarding the safe but a hurried departure of Raymond Davis to Afghanistan, his medical check up and a confirmation by the state department made the situation complex. The reactions were confused, and suddenly a blame game started.

Rana Sanaullah got furious when asked if Punjab Government had played the role of a facilitator instead of the prosecutor. He took refuge of the court decision and same was the position taken by the PPP government in Center. Qamar Zaman Kaira, the information secretary of Pakistan Peoples Party while terming the release a vindication of party’s stand observed that the “court has decided the Raymond Davis case in accordance with country’s constitution and law”. In a statement issued here by the PPP Central Secretariat, Kaira said that the government right from beginning of the case had been saying that Raymond’s issue was in the court and whatever decision it would take in this regard, the government would accept it. He said that the verdict was an endorsement of the principled stance of PPP. He said that the heirs of the deceased themselves appeared in the court and forgave Raymond and accepted blood money.

Assessing the situation and to control damage done by the statement of Senator Kerry earlier, The US Ambassador Cameron Munter tried to ease out the tense situation created by furious Pakistan media by saying that the US Justice Department had started investigations in to the Lahore incident. He however thanked both the central and the provincial governments for their positive roles and assured a full financial assistance in the present financial crunch the country is passing through. He and the state department spokesman in Washington denied any payment on account of Blood Money, while the sources in the jail, Punjab Police and the provincial government were telling different story. The sources while confirming the payment of blood money compensation claimed that Rs. 200 million were paid to 18 legal and sharai heirs of the two deceased. The TV Channels showed copies of the payment receipts and according to them, 10 family members of Faizan and 8 family members of Fahim received the blood money.
NoFamily members of FahimAmount Paid
1Father of FahimRs. 11.1 million
2Mother of FahimRs. 33.3 million
3Sisters  (2)Rs. 5.5 muillion 55 thousand (each)
4Brothers (4)Rs. 11.1 million (each)

Family of Faizan

1Mother of FaizanRs. 33.3 million
2Widow of Fahim Rs 25 million
3Brother (3)Rs. 7.5 million 77 thousand each
4Sisters (5)Rs. 3.7 million 87 thousand each

Grand TotalRs. 206,851,000

Note: Widow of Fahim committed suicide and thus there was no compensation or blood money for her. Although United States denied any blood money payment, the receipts of the payments made are enough evidence of the fact that such a heavy amount was paid. But story does not end here; both the families are not in their houses. Both families shifted to some safe houses four days ago and they submitted new affidavits and changed their lawyers said the Punjab Law Minister.

As Punjab Law Minister denied any involvement of his government in settling the issue, and worthy leader of the opposition in National Assembly Ch. Nisar Ali Khan, other PML-N leaders Ahsan Iqbal, Khwaja Asif and Saad Rafique, in their vague statements tried to put all the blame on their opponent federal government and held it accountable, the sources placed in the CM House and Sharif Family are very much sure that Chotay Mian sahib the worthy Khadim e Punjab Mian Shahbaz Sharif played himself an important role and made it possible that a deal was struck. Senior Columnist Najam Sethi has maintained that Shahbaz had played an instrumental role in convincing the families. He was the one who also convinced families to accept US citizenship.

Raymond Davis while in Police Custody

But the main players in the high drama of course were the army, the ISI, CIA and the Saudi Arabia. Sources in the defense sector are of the view that General Ashfaq Pervez Kiani met Admiral Mullen in Bahrain last month and it was agreed between the two that both security forces and allied spy agencies will resolve the issue and also will reduce tension between CIA and ISI. Next day the CIA Chief made a telephone call to ISI Chief General Pasha and thus road map was agreed. Siddiaq ul Farooq, a PML-N central leader confirmed that Saudi government played its role and made it possible for Punjab government actually led by Nawaz Sharif to settle the issue. It would be second time in recent history that Saudi government has played an active role in a controversial matter in Pakistan. First time it provided a safe exit to Nawaz Sharif and now Raymond Davis from custody of PML-N Government.

Shortly after the two high profile communications and follow up meetings in Islamabad and Washington, the Saudi Ambassador Abdul Aziz al Ghader got active. He kept shuttling between Islamabad and Lahore and finally got the family of Faizan to fly to Makah Mukarma to perform Umrah and hence the families gave up their resistance in receiving the blood money. Saudi ambassador in his meeting with the President earlier this month conveyed that the deal is struck and now the authorities can move forward. Here the powers that be entered the scene again and it was decided to replace the lawyer with Raja Irshad Kiani, a Supreme Court lawyer with dubious credentials. He is the lawyer who in the missing persons’ case had presented the statement of ISI, which admitted custody of some people in front of the Supreme Court and got the issue settled. Raja Irshad Kiani implemented the script and got Raymond released!

In addition, the CIA and ISI who were not at good terms, have agreed on some basic principles, sources in Islamabad claim. The United States in the deal has admitted that Raymond Davis had committed a crime and he will have this stigma for life from now onwards. Secondly a major point of understanding was reached between the two agencies that both agencies i. e. CIA and ISI will obey the basic principles of diplomacy. No under cover agent will cross his/her limits from the agreed role and will act in accordance with the control and command agreement reached between the two governments in Musharraf Regime and they will obey the diplomatic norms and the country law. No US agent will enter Pakistan without visa and a check will be kept on their activities. Some of the dubious agents are leaving Pakistan shortly. An important question still needs the answer, that why US was worried for a DoD contractor, answer is very simple: he still holds one of the top three important positions in CIA, a source in the US Embassy claimed.

Closing words:  The judge who decided the case has gone on long leave, sources claimed. The families of Faizan and Fahim are also leaving for United States where they have been given citizenship! “All is well that ends well”!       

Raymond Davis, a 36-year-old who after spending two months in Lahore jail for two Pakistanis have been released on Wednesday, ending one of the most serious diplomatic standoff between US and Pakistani government.

Davis Raymond while in Police Custoy-old picture

Davis was set freer after family members of the Pakistani killed by Davis told the Court that they were dropping charges in exchange for financial compensation, often referred as blood money in Pakistan.

Media already speculated the decision of Davis release. However, Religious parties in Pakistan held protests over the past several weeks against the expected decision of Davis’ release.



The 2011 Boston Muslim Film Festival launches with a pre-release New England debut screening of Desert Flower. The film – already a hit in Europe – tells the story of a young Somali who becomes one of the world’s top supermodels. Born into a family of goat-herding nomads, Waris Dirie goes from African deserts to fashion’s hottest runways. Yet behind the glamorous façade of Dirie’s new life lies a violent childhood secret: a scarring encounter with female genital mutilation. After revealing her hidden past at the height of her career, Dirie decides to dedicate her life to fighting FGM.

A panel discussion with local FGM survivor Afrah Farah (other panelists tba) and a catered reception will follow this special pre-release screening.

This event is free and open to the public. Space is limited- to RSVP, email:

For more information about the 2011 Boston Muslim Film Festival’s other events, visit: ttp://

Where: Cloud Place , 647 Boylston Street

When: Wednesday, April 6 • 6:30pm – 9:30pm