The bizarre Raymond Davis saga finally comes to a close. The CIA spy, who murdered two Pakistani’s in a busy street in Lahore in a fashion that would have resembled something from a James bond movie, was acquitted today by a Pakistani court. This comes after weeks of intense pressure from the Pakistani people to hang him and from the American government to release him on grounds of ‘diplomatic immunity’.

America as usual threatened Pakistan by cutting off the billions of dollars in aid, and the Pakistan government being a slave to this money obviously had to comply; so the release of Raymond Davis shouldn’t surprise anyone. What is surprising, however, is how quickly this man was released and the means employed in the process.

Although Pakistani law isn’t based on the Shariah (Islamic Law) in its entirety, aspects of it have been incorporated into it. The part of Shariah which came to the aid of the Americans is the concept of blood money in the case of a murder. Islamic law allows for the relatives of the murdered to pardon the accused in return for monetary compensation in certain circumstances. This is essentially what happened and families of the victims were reportedly paid out in the millions; whether or not they were compelled into this agreement remains uncertain considering they were isolated from their lawyers during the deal.

The irony of this outcome is that it happened at time when there is a huge anti-shariah movement in the United States. This movement which is rooted in ignorance has succeeded in introducing bills banning Shariah from a number of states in America. Little do the bigots behind this initiative know that about 95% of the Shariah deals with laws relating to things such as prayer, fasting, charity, dietary requirements and business transactions; banning the Shariah would essentially disallow Muslims from practicing their faith.

Another ironic aspect of this episode is that the religious right which lead the protests in Pakistan can’t really accuse its government of misappropriation since the settlement was based on Islamic law. Its a solution that appeases America and is inline with the principles the protesters supposedly stand for; who would have thought the Pakistani government could have wiggled its way out of this mess so smoothly.

One aspect of this incident that troubles me greatly is the motivation behind the protests that demanded Raymond Davis to be punished. One would think these people were seeking justice for the deceased but really they just wanted to avenge America and punishing a CIA spy was symbolic of it. Hundreds of innocent people are killed in terrorist attacks and suicide bombings in Pakistan regularly; where are these protesters when its comes to demanding that the government bring the instigators of these crimes to justice? Pakistan is a country of dichotomies and this is just one face it.

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