Qureshi's remarks draw flak
DETENTION OF US OFFICIAL
PRESS TRUST OF INDIA
Islamabad, Feb 13: The Pakistan People's Party today slammed former Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi for saying that a US official arrested for killing two men could not be given diplomatic immunity, with leaders accusing him of working against the party's interests.
Qureshi, who skipped the swearing-in ceremony for Pakistan's new cabinet on Friday after he learnt that the PPP leadership had decided not to reallocate the foreign affairs portfolio to him, said that US official Raymond Davis is not a diplomat according to official records and experts in the Foreign Office and could not be given "blanket diplomatic immunity".
"The kind of blanket immunity Washington is pressing for Davis is not endorsed by the official record of the Foreign Ministry," said Qureshi.
"On the basis of the official record and the advice given to me by the technocrats and experts of the Foreign Office, I could not certify him (Davis) as a diplomat," he told The News daily.
The PPP launched a frontal attack on the former minister after he made his views public.
PPP secretary general Raja Pervez Ashraf compared Qureshi to late President Farooq Ahmad Khan Leghari, who had dismissed former premier Benazir Bhutto's government in 1996 despite belonging to the PPP.
The late President's name is often used in Pakistani politics to derisively refer to a turncoat.
Ashraf said the "tone and tenor of Qureshi indicates that another Leghari is in the making in the party".
"Mr Shah Mahmood Qureshi's fate will not be different than that of Leghari," he added.
Information Minister Firdous Aashiq Awan, considered close to PPP chief Asif Ali Zardari's camp, said Qureshi's statements were not in Pakistan's favour and would "create a bad environment in the country".
"Shah Mahmood had not shown his concerns when he was Foreign Minister and now these remarks about Davis are not in favour of the country,"
Awan told a news channel.
Lastupdate on : Sun, 13 Feb 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 13 Feb 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 14 Feb 2011 00:00:00 IST
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