Forget Aafia, we’ll keep Davis

Published: March 2, 2011
Email

Raymond Davis has been accused of two counts of murder

On Monday, Waseem, the brother of one of the men Raymond Davis has been accused of murdering, announced that he was open to an exchange involving Dr Aafia Siddiqui and Davis. Later, Aafia’s sister Dr Fauzia and mother seconded the idea.

They are not alone. Calls to exchange Aafia for Davis emerged soon after the American was arrested. To me, these do not make much sense as both cases are completely different cases.

Aafia was tried and sentenced to 86 years in a US prison on seven charges. Davis, on the other hand, has been accused of shooting two Pakistani citizens and his case is one of crime, possession of illegal weapons and murder.

He was arrested for murder not an attempted of murder. More importantly, he is a CIA agent.

Why is America so desperate?

The US’ desperate attempts to secure Davis’ release spell out one fact: he is important. His arrest has already led to steps that have exposed America’s clandestine affairs in the region. If an exchange was to take place, we could potentially lose out on information that Davis may have.

The US is obviously uneasy about this. It has warned that ‘funds will stop coming’ and the release based on the Vienna Convention. When nothing seemed to work, some leaders threatened to approach the same International Court of Justice (a court the US has been known to show little regard for in the past.)

Raymond Davis’ case is a gold mine of secrets

As new information is being revealed about this case, our own intelligence agencies are becoming vigilant. Records of other US officials are being scrutinized and information about US operatives working under Joint Special Operations Command programs in Pakistan is surfacing.

This information is reason enough to investigate this case further, instead of coming up with alternatives like an exchange.

We need to follow the trail which uncovers Davis’ possible involvement with Taliban militants and explains why he could have been photographing sensitive areas and defense installations, including army bunkers on the eastern border with India.

Here is a list of items that was allegedly found in Davis’ possession:

  • 100 M7 bullets
  • camera
  • knives
  • medical equipment
  • a pistol with four magazines
  • wire-cutters
  • telescopes

The question we should ask America is this: would they investigate a Pakistani “diplomat” who was carrying these items?

If this situation is handled wisely, it could change the fate of Pakistan. An exchange will be a cheap barter and one which will greatly disadvantageous.

Kiran Nazish

Kiran Nazish

The author is an award-winning journalist and co-founder of a global network of support for women journalists, called the Coalition for Women in Journalism, based in New York. She has covered several countries around the world, including Iraq, Syria, Turkey, Mexico, India, Afghanistan. She tweets at @kirannazish (twitter.com/kirannazish)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.