Raymond Davis case and Uncle Sam’s hypocrisy

Published: March 17, 2011

The United States: the world's biggest bully

“The message that the Obama administration sent in Islamabad on Wednesday is loud and clear. If you work for the CIA, the US government will pay your way out of jail even if you are being held on murder charges.”

This was the crux of Pratap Chatterjee’s report for the Guardian The ransoming of Raymond Davis.

Call it blood money, call it a bribe – the fact is that someone paid $2.3 million to get Raymond Davis out of a Koth Lakhpat jail and on a special plane faster than you can say “CIA agent”.

Where this money came from is unclear. While the US government denies paying off the victims’ families, the facts are clear: this is yet another incident where America’s hypocrisy stands stark naked.

An American Shariah for Davis

The same American government that has repeatedly criticized the Shariah Law calling it’s tenets “barbaric” and “medieval” has now used the Qisas and Diyat Ordinance 1990 to save their CIA hero.

Go ahead America, cringe at the Shariah-sanctioned flogging of ‘adulterous’ women in Swat; grimace at the chopping of thieves’ hands in Saudi Arabia; but pay a couple of million dollars in exchange for a murderer’s pardon through Diyat.

Another interesting point has been raised by columnist Christian Whiton who writes for FOX News.

Whiton writes:

Assistance from US taxpayers to Pakistan has increased to a sky-high average of $1.5 billion per year.

The gall of asking for an extra $2.3 million payment on top of this is insulting.

Yes, you read it right. This columnist (a former US State Department senior adviser) is enraged that holier-than-thou America had to actually pay Pakistan to release Davis after giving it a flood of financial assistance.

He asks:

Exactly what is that $1.5 billion a year supposed to buy us?

Has the American government bought Pakistan’s sovereignty by giving it money? The answer seems to be that it has.

The popular idea that our policy makers, diplomats and military brass get their cues from Uncle Sam is not just rhetoric. As Davis flies off to safety, over 30 Pakistanis have been killed in an alleged US drone strike, begging the question – why is a Pakistani life so much cheaper than an American one?

“Pakistan shouldn’t bite the hand that feeds,” is a justification given to explain our country’s tacit approval of anything suggested by the US government. But when that very generous hand grabs us by the throat and threatens to stop sanctions and development, it is clear who the barbarian is.

The same America that talks about justice and bravery, has lived up to its reputation of playing an under-handed game. Long live America!


Atika Rehman

Editor of the Life & Style pages of The Express Tribune and an LLB graduate from the University of London.

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

  • http://Multan Blunt!

    I think blaming America is of no use! They did whatever served their interests – in this case getting Raymond Davis out of Pakistan. Whether its by exploiting a clause in the Shariah Law or by any other means, it hardly matters as long as their wishes are served!

    But then, who is to blame? Is it our government? But why they?
    They acted in their interest too, not to forget the Govt. keeps on receiving aids worth billions of dollars, so this was their chance for a little payback to the US.

    But then who is to blame? The Shariah Law? But why?
    We have almost always been guided by the same Law in matters related to life and death.
    So what is this Fuss now?

    But then who is to blame? We the people? But why?
    Its WE who have made the Shariah Law, its WE who elects the govt. that runs this country, its WE who is in the govt, its WE…

    So then, who is to Blame?!Recommend

  • http://tighdhoti.wordpress.com TightDhoti

    I dont think any country will sacrifice an individual just to prove a point. America’s responsibility isnt to Pakistan its to her own citizens. The Pakistani state fails to protect her citizens and offer them justice. America did what it had to do to get its man out, regardless of what it needs to do or how it looks. Then again, as long as we as a nation dodge taxes and remain reliant on foreign financing, any display of excercising soverignty is a mere excercise. When push came to the shove, our military did what it had to do to protect its interests, regardless of the consequences. Our impotent government whcih doesnt have the political capital to face down its detractors in the face of the murder of two of its party members could hardly have orchestrated his release without the military guiding its hand, telling it what to do. America is a self serving entity, just like everyother country in the world, that we fail to protect our citizens is our fault and our responsibility. Recommend

  • http://saidcanblog.blogspot.com Said Chaudhry

    But the Qisas and Diyat Law is functional and used in Pakistan. If we endorse it, how can we blame the Americans from using it to their benefit? Just because they are against the Sharia doesn’t mean they are exempted from it. Don’t see any problem with this. No laws were broken here. The question should be whether Davis should have been charged with Anti Terrorism act. Well, too late now!Recommend

  • http://Multan ILLIDAN


    Wow, great analysis, However I feel, its WE who should be blamed. Yes, no one else but WE.
    Its time for a Egypt like revolution in Pakistan, the time is ripe, lets rise up before it gets too late.

  • http://umairj.com/ Umair Jabbar

    Pakistan shouldn’t bite the hand that feeds This is the best explanation. After begging them for aid almost for everything we have, we expect them to treat us equally ! That wont happenRecommend

  • Andy

    Blame game against America again – it is this very mentality that has lead us to this point of self-implosion. It’s about time we realized that only we can help ourselves internally. If we have such a Sharia law in place that allows something like this to happen, then I see no problem in America wanting to exploit it and save their own citizen. If anything, this proves how much America values each and every single one of its citizens. Had something like this happened and a Pakistani citizen was captured abroad, I doubt there would be such a monstrous effort on our own government’s part to release him/her.
    I agree – it is absurd that someone can pay their way out of murder without a fair trial – but let’s be real, this is Pakistan – a trial like this was heavily influenced by anti-American bias in any case, and with the option of exploiting a law that enables blood money payments, hats off to America to dish out so much for the release of one person. Maybe it’s about time we think about changing the laws so that this: “Go ahead America, cringe at the Shariah-sanctioned flogging of ‘adulterous’ women in Swat; grimace at the chopping of thieves’ hands in Saudi Arabia; but pay a couple of million dollars in exchange for a murderer’s pardon through Diyat.” doesnt happen. It’s not America’s fault that they found a way to save Raymond Davis – we need to wake up and realize that we need to change our laws to save our women, children and hard-working citizens. Unfortunately, with a government like ours, I don’t see this happening in our lifetime. Recommend

  • Raymond’s Daddy

    Everybody loves Raymond! Awwww…. you even read those BS documents…hehehehehe…
    How amusing!!

    Ray is having his favorite all American Apple Pie for desert today :) He’s exausted after all the all inflight bozz he’s had. Now eat Kujoor you all!! Recommend

  • Haniya

    @ Andy and Said, agreed. If this is the law of the land, then perhaps our critique should be focused on strategic changes to the law as opposed to the knee-jerk reactions of anti-Americanism. If this is the law we have and it is exploited by every murderer in Pakistan, then why condemn the US for using it? Maybe we should have been questioning this law instead- the legacy and use of which anyone remotely interested in criminal justice and women’s rights in Pakistan is well-aware of. Lets stop being jingoistic to the point at which we fail to be self-reflective and intelligent about geopolitics. On the first point, I am referring to this new hue and cry over laws that have existed and been used since 1997 (Tahir Wasti’s and Martin Lau’s books on Pk/Islamic laws have excellent references that you can look at). On the second point I am referring to the fact that were we all not aware that this was the only way this issue was going to end? Why is it such a shock that CIA agents exist in Pakistan? Have we all been living under a rock? Have we absolved our military/intelligence/govt for being complicit in them being here? Mind-numbing denial on the part of Pakistanis. And this is how realpolitics work … there is ISI everywhere the way there is CIA everywhere the way there is RAW everywhere the way there is KGB everywhere (case in point, sleeper cell Russian agents in the US for DECADES…this is what the world of intelligence and geopolitics is like so lets not be so self-righteous.)

    Did any intelligent person really think it would be resolved differently? In fact, the family getting compensation is something good here, at least they got something! And for all those who are so shocked and quick to rush to how it mustve been coerced …um, anytime money is involved its a form of coercion. life does not exist in black and white, the continuum between consent and coercion is LONG and along that continuum is where decisions – on all sorts of things- are made.

    And I say good on the family for getting this compensation. Instead of being dropped by the JI types in the days and months to come if this was to go through the criminal justice system, they now have the ability to support themselves for generations to come and perhaps even build some legacy in the names of those they lost. I’m not a poor Pakistani but even I would rather take the money given the option between $700k or spending years running through the Pk court system…so why not expend our energy writing about the inefficient court system that also “coerces” people into taking blood money as opposed to fighting it out?

    nb: i think what raymond davis did was horrible and i would love to see the pakistan govt and all these nationalist types bemoaning the state of affairs lobby for a full investigation in the US. but come on, bigger problems for us in Pakistan, lets deal with those and stop obsessing about this!Recommend

  • http://GTA Vin

    By having this Sharia law of Blood Money (I would call it bribe of worst coscience) the Pakistani society is breeding more greed and opportunism:

    The victims family here has done great disservice to the soul of the dead.. they have infact benifitted from his death… this is a wrong precedence and BAD KARMA
    a. BAD KARMA on the conscience of the Victims Family
    b. BAD KARMA on part of the Killer who wont repent inwardly and escapes with a bribe
    c. On part of the judiciary/government that is a part of such bribery and allows such a gross act to take place…

    Simple Rule:
    If one does not have the abilty to give life, then they shouldnt have the abilty to take one.
    If one does not have the ability to re-produce an arm, one should not cut it for theaft etc

    That is why capital punishment is banned in many countries…LIFE imprisonment for 50-100 years is good enough for worst offenders. Even the one’s like Kasab/Afzal Guru etc… (though its is very romantic to see such scoundrels on the gallows, but does it make us any better than them?)

    I wonder what has happened to Paksitani socety that was so prgressive once upon a time…Can Arabian Laws and Culture change a person so much?Recommend

  • http://GTA Vin

    Can Arabian Laws and Culture change a great CIVILIZATION to such an extent?
    This is a great topic for a research thesis…. “HOW TO ANNIHILATE A PROGRESSIVE CIVILIZATION”Recommend

  • jun

    I don’t see any reason to blame USA here.USA proved that they do care about those who work for their country , USA.
    Allegation of hypocrisy on USA !!! This is Pakistani law , they just used your country law .It was totally legal and respect of Pakistani courts by them is visible here.
    This is an example for Pakistanies that they should change these kinds of laws.Recommend

  • Azam Khan

    @ all those who are thinking that it was a deal of accepting blood money (qisaas). One thing is absolutely clear in Sharia Law, that qisaas is only applicable when, the culprit and the victim both are muslims. Here the case is vice-versa. The murderer is an infidel, and victims were muslims.
    Basically, they are mocking us on our Sharia Law.
    for them, i will just quote part of a verse from Holy Quran.

    “And make not fun nor take as joke The Orders of Allah”Recommend

  • Andy

    @ Azam Khan: Unbelievable. Even more reason for us to revise our archaic Islamic Laws. Just because someone is not a Muslim does not mean that they are an Infidel. I am sorry, but for us to think that as Muslims, we are entitled to bash on anyone who is not a Muslim, makes NO SENSE. This sense of entitlement has been one of the major reasons for our downfall. It’s people like you that make me worry the most about this country. Let’s grow up and recognize that there is a world outside our sphere as well, and that the Sharia law needs to be amended if we want to keep up with the way things happen in the world today. The US was perfectly entitled to use a law practiced in Pakistan to free its own citizen. Muslims are not the end all be all to everything in this world. Get that straight in your head. It is a glorious religion gone horribly wrong in the modern era because everyone has misconstrued the way they interpret it. You say And make not fun nor take as joke The Orders of Allah – well don’t cherry pick phrases that suit your argument from the Quran and post them here. There are many other things said in the Quran that preach and promote tolerance and co-existence – let’s start focusing on those rather than hating on anything and everything that is not Islamic. Recommend

  • faraz

    Foreign policy is based on national interests, your moralistic approach towards foreign policy is naive. Beggars cant be choosers, its simple. Recommend

  • parvez

    Why call it Uncle Sam’s hypocrisy ? They have done what they always do and that is look after their interests. Why don’t we do the same ?
    Even if the Sharia Law was not in place the Americans would have still got Davis released.
    They understood their weakness in this matter but more importantly they completely understood our weaknesses – the weakness of leadership and the reality that the people do not matter.Recommend

  • Raj

    Why blame americans!!! Blame the people in charge of the country and all the nonsense they and the local media provide to brain wash the locals!!!!!
    Pakistan has not been a soveriegn nation for over a decade, and this is just a normal transaction between the master and servant!!!
    Lets face it without the US AID there was no pakistan!!! just a turf of land where the masses would be starving and the rest eating grass!!
    In regards to law and order, its been long time since such a thing existed in this land! ITS a survivel of the richest and best connected in this Jungle.
    I am surprised that they have not yet blamed some conspricy on india for this mess!!!Recommend

  • Talha

    Atika, Baby, calm down.Recommend

  • faraz

    @Azam Khan
    Where does the Quran say that every non muslim is an infidel? Here is a remarkable, often ignored, verse from the Quran:

    Indeed, those who believed and those who were Jews or Christians or Sabeans [before Prophet Muhammad] – those [among them] who believed in Allah and the Last Day and did righteousness – will have their reward with their Lord, and no fear will there be concerning them, nor will they grieve. (2:62)Recommend

  • Mike Sullivan

    Ashamed to be an American.Recommend

  • Talat

    Irresistible still. Recommend

  • Adil

    I would agree with the fact that USA indeed shows double standards,they talk about War On Terror but they were the ones who funded all these militants back in the days.Now no one knows where’s Osama Bin Laden, and Hillary Clinton and Hamid Karzai are ready to hold talks with Talibans. In Middle East,USA funded Israel for all these years,which kept the latter surviving despite its inhuman activities against Palestinians. And who can forget millions of Iraqis who died first due to economic sanctions by US,and later on War during Bush’s era. So,expecting any sort of humanity or justice from Washington?? It’s upto you and depends too.

    In terms of terrorism,today I would really love to quote Dr. Zakir Naik that presently USA is the biggest terrorist nation on the planet.

    We as a nation would have to invest in and solidify our education system and other sectors. And we have to stay careful when it comes to the ambitions of US since I have a feeling that they would always wish that tensions between us and our neighbours stay,not to forget how they backed every military dictator in Pakistan. Uncle Sam has lost it ever since USSR collapsed, becoming the sole superpower on the planet. Our relationship with China has been a great asset and we must try to follow their paths in terms of scientific and economic progress,and copying their models will be a great idea too.

    One more remarkable step would be to apologise to Russian Federation for participating in the so-called Jihad against them.Plus arresting every Mullah who glorify the decisions taken by Zia after Soviet Invasion over Afghanistan. I hope many fellow countrymen of mine now acknowledge the fact that it was a great blunder to wage war against the Soviets back then. And these Maulvis share a great responsibility when it comes to the present condition of our nation and America’s influence in our homeland.Recommend

  • maria

    very well written atika Recommend

  • yaarku

    flogging of ‘adulterous’ women in Swat

    Blockquote> BlockquoteBlockquote

    u dont have any right to say things to people or case whom u dont know Recommend

  • BM

    Please note the verse below… I don’t think Diyat was applicable here. Diyat doesn’t cover intentional killing, which the court had yet to decide upon…..

    It is unlawful for a believer to kill a believer except if it happens by accident. And he who kills a believer accidentally must free one Muslim slave and pay Diyat to the heirs of the victim except if they forgive him. If the victim is a Muslim belonging to a people at enmity with you, the freeing of a Muslim slave is enough. But if the victim belongs to an ally, Diyat shall also be given to his heirs and a Muslim slave shall also have to be set free. He who does not have a slave, must fast two consecutive months. This is from Allah a way to repent from this sin: He is Wise, All-Knowing. … (4:92-3)Recommend

  • Hassan

    Everyone who has responded to atikas blog please educate yourselves first, Raymond Davis was indicted for murder he was not proved to having murdered those two boys and thus was not applicable for diyat at this point in time. Qisaas & Diyat laws clearly state that one can excersie these options once he/she has been proven to have committed the said murder, in this case it was just an indictment!!!!!

    This is a deal not shariah law so please clear your misconceptions, and their is no difference for muslims and non muslims the law is the same. America has always looked out for their national interests and we have looked out for the interests of those in power.

    America is to blame only to the extent of their hypocrisy everything else they have done is for their self interest, the bulk of the blame lies on the weak and spineless shoulders of our ruling elite who have usurped our rights to live like human beings. Recommend

  • http://Delhi ani

    American citizens => sharia laws = tamasha, beg for money and release.
    Indian citizens => no laws required = JAIL. (if money is offered, ask them to send it via UN; take it and still keep them in jail)
    Pakistani citizens, if deemed ‘good’ muslim => no laws required= do as you please. Every day is a carnival of outrageous fantasies. When something goes wrong, always blame Amreeka, India and Israel. Recommend

  • Tony Singh

    Come on. The pak govt. did what they had to do. RD was going to be released anyway. How long could the Pak govt. bear the pressure? Any govt in any form would have done the same thing. But to its credit it did the next best thing. Got compensation for victim’s family.Recommend

  • parvez

    Have to agree its creepy you liking Uncle Sam’s new picture with the brass knuckle duster squeezing little Sindbad. So you have a daaaark side as well.
    I like Atika’s picture, think its gorjus. Recommend

  • http://grsalam.wordpress.com Ghausia

    @Mike Sullivan: Hah! Its about time!

    lol you knew what I meant, and yes, it is gorgeous. Now lets stop embarrassing the poor thing with our creepiness. Either that, or we can start asking her for frandship. :DRecommend

  • http://none Bangash

    NO hypocrisy, just Uncle Sam’s commitment to its citizens.

    Besides the issue was never about law or courts, just ISI wanting its grievances to be addressed.Recommend

  • Ahemd Mahsud

    This is the fact that pakistan Govt and Pakistan Army and it’s security Agences are never been pro Pakistan.

    They always work for Super powers whether it is Israel or USA.

    Poor pakistani people eat one time to feed the govt and Army and yet they get in response a bombs in their home from pakistan and shooting in open markets from USA aor any oneRecommend

  • Taimoor Raza

    The layer community in Punjab who are demonstrating and calling a strike against the release of Raymond Davis are either politically motivated or ignorant of the law who are calling upon to invoke Section 311 of the PPC are not well conversant to the Explanation appended to the Section and in any case it is attracted to the case of Raymond Davis case. If it is an emotional outburst then I will urge my learned Lawyer colleagues to establish the offense and not to make a political mileage out of it as he also deserves the justice which our law provides and if our law has provided a reprieve then it is my legal right to avail the same.
    But the factum remains to be determined through investigation how the consent was obtained becomes irrelevant if the heirs have submitted the affidavits and given the statement to the effect that the compromise has been made without any coercion. I fail to understand as to why this issue of coercion is being raised in the presence of the explicit statement of the heirs conceding the agreement made.Recommend

  • J

    Dont worry Mr. 10% will send Uncle Sam his “laundry” bill later.Recommend

  • Humanity

    Please try to put emotions aside for a moment, though a tall order for the Pakistani mind set, and try to understand why Pakistan came out ahead with this decision and what the real issues are.

    Firstly, keep in mind Pakistan is not doing any favor to the US by staying in the relation. Pakistan, as is, is unsustainable without the US aid!
    US would have gotten Davis out on diplomatic immunity regardless, unless Davis was killed which would have further hurt the already sour US-Pakistan relations. Taking Davis out on diplomatic immunity alone would have caused a massive turmoil destabilizing the country dangerously. That US/Pakistan avoided this route, is a win for Pakistan.
    That US used the Sharia law to release Davis was a brilliant move. It was the best means to flatten the tires of religiously charged band wagon that the nation is riding. Though, the nation did not like the bitter taste of its own medicine, this is again a win for Pakistan. The mullah brigade was disarmed and the nation got to see that the real face of the law that was originally designed to persecute the minorities by the JI mullah-politic alliance, ending up persecuting the emotions of the entire nation. This is an opportunity to learn some lessons. That is, do not expect only the enemy to die after poisoning the source of water.
    That US government did not directly pay the blood money, ensures that Davis’s diplomatic immunity still holds. This is win for every one, including Pakistan. (So any one getting ideas of get rich quick, should forget it. This ploy will not work every time. Diplomatic immunity will trump other avenues in most cases.)
    In the bargaining, ISI got back in control instead of CIA running amok, bypassing ISI. This is a clear win for Pakistan.
    The victims’ families got more than adequately compensated proving they were not coerced. That justice was done by the victims, is a win for the whole Pakistani nation. By accepting the blood money the victims’ families did a favor not only to themselves but also to the whole nation. The use of the Sharia law in this incident clearly demonstrates the real potential of manipulation of the Sharia law for political purposes. The he Sharai law is not the problem. The law dispensed real justice, but only when was implemented by the really pious and holy people of the 7th century. We all know the implementors of the 21st century are people who would sell their mothers for a few bucks. Hence, Sharia law in the hands of such people is a dangerous tool of injustice and oppression.
    Finally, to label the use of the Sharia law by the US as hypocritical is in itself a big hypocrisy. The US used the law in the defense of her citizen in the country, where the people whole heartedly love the law and are willing to kill if any ones even thinks of changing the law. Now don’t you tell me that the law is limited to use by the Muslims only. Pakistan wins, only if she realizes how the holiest of laws can produce an undesirable outcome when religion is abused for worldly gains.

    The Davis case is closed for Pakistan from every legal angle. PERIOD. The nation should get a life and move on to some thing really honorable, like doing some nation building. Start with asking some questions, like:

    What item of national honour has been sold in the Davis case?
    Are the people now against the Sharia law? If yes, it is time to release poor Aasia Bibi. If people still support the sharia law, why so much hue and cry when Davis is let go? It is important to nail down the lingering doubts that are irking even the liberal mind set.
    Why are people silent when wealthy murderers of victims’ of honor killing and/or property grabbing walk free after paying blood money?
    Is mixing state and religion a good idea?
    Can you get the people who have the character and integrity similar to the holy men of the 7th century who will actually do justice to the shariah law?
    How many are asking their elected representative in the government, why they were taken for an emotional roller coaster ride for the Davis fiasco?
    Having claimed independence 63 years ago, why is Pakistan in a perpetually dependent state?
    Does the definition of sovereign state not include the term self-reliant? Always remember, beggars are not chooser.
    How many of you who have commented here and else where actually pay taxes?
    Do your wealthy parents pay taxes?

    Let us get to the basics and analyze what honor really means, why we have the audacity to imagine we can come close to the character of the holy men of the 7th century to use the sharia law in its true spirit.

    So who is the real hypocrite here?Recommend

  • Raj

    Pakistanis kill Pakistanis -OK
    Pakistanis kill US Citizens -OK
    US Citizens kill Pakistanis-NOT OK
    Pakistanis do not pay blood money -OK
    US Citizens pay blood money as per Sharia- NOT OK
    Who are hypocrites?Recommend

  • http://bloggers.com/author/khyrat/ Syed Khyrat Hussain

    Although we all are in a panic situatuion for release of Davis but, if he has really paid for blood and family of killed is agreed then we should be careful. Another latest article on his release is read on following link. Please read it also.