America's Man in Islamabad

Pakistan's moves to prosecute a US "diplomat" who gunned down two alleged Pakistani spooks on the streets of Islamabad have prompted threats to cut off US aid and cancel a planned meeting between Obama and Pakistan's president Asif Ali Zardari, reports Andy Buncombe of the Independent.  But the application of American muscle to extricate Raymond Davis, a man popularly believed to be a CIA agent or Jack Bauer-style "special operative," could boost Pakistani hardliners by fueling street-level anger against the US.

The UK-based paper writes: 'Pakistani politicians find themselves in a difficult position. While they do not wish to lose out on the billions of dollars of US military and non-military aid, they do not dare antagonise a Pakistani public that is increasingly anti-American by being seen to give in to US demands. Most political parties favour Mr Davis being tried in Pakistan and yesterday morning in Karachi, protesters from an Islamist party burned a US flag and called for him to be hanged. "The Pakistani government is really in the soup," said Hasan-Askari Rizvi, a political and strategic analyst. "They should have settled the matter of his diplomatic immunity within a day. But now the political parties have jumped in and the courts have jumped in. If they release him now, they will face a lot of opposition in the streets."