Conflict & Justice

Our man in America's Lahore shootout roils Pakistan

Amid a fresh wave of anti-American rhetoric, Raymond Davis, a so-called technical adviser to the US consulate in Lahore, was brought before a court yesterday and ordered to be kept in custody for six days, my buddy Andy Buncombe writes in the UK's Independent. Officials insisted the American would not receive special treatment. "He has killed two men. A case is registered against him on murder charges," Rana Bakhtiar, deputy prosecutor general for Punjab province, told reporters after the hearing.

Later in the article, Buncombe adds:

A number of media organisations and news channels seized on the incident, suggesting that Mr Davis was in the wrong and questioning whether he would be charged. One right-wing English language newspaper, The Nation, carried a headline that roared: "American Rambo goes berserk in Lahore".

"The media is trying to create an atmosphere. It is media populism where they are just saying what the audience wants to hear rather than what is socially responsible or professionally correct," said Rasul Bakhsh Rais, an analyst based in Lahore. "They are more interested in provoking public passions."

Apart from the "so-called" in his description of Davis, Buncombe doesn't address the elephant in the room here -- which ain't easy to do without sounding like a nutcase, of course.  But what the heck is a "technical adviser" who carries around a pistol and is skilled enough with it to gun down two guys who are trying to kidnap him or blow him away?  Was this an ordinary robbery?  Doubtless we'll never know the answer to either question for sure (well, especially the second one).  But it will be fun to read the loonier papers in Pakistan to see what the options are -- and nothing will be off the table!