Pakistani intel says US gunman is CIA (AFP)

A Pakistani intelligence official said Monday that an American being held for killing two men was an undercover CIA contractor, in remarks set to stoke a brewing crisis with the US.

Washington insists that Raymond Davis, who says he acted in self-defense, is a member of its Islamabad embassy’s “administrative and technical staff,” that he holds diplomatic immunity and should be released immediately.

However, the Pakistani government is under huge pressure from the political opposition not to cave in to US demands, with analysts even warning that the case could threaten the very rule of the Pakistan People’s Party.

“It is beyond any shadow of a doubt that he was working for the CIA,” an official from Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency told AFP on condition of anonymity.

“He’s on contract. He’s not a regular CIA guy, but he’s working for the CIA. That’s confirmed,” the official said.

Few in Pakistan believe Davis, who reportedly worked for a security contractor and had a background in US Special Forces, is a regular diplomat.

Police told AFP they recovered a Glock pistol, four loaded magazines, a GPS navigation system and a small telescope from his car, after the shooting on a busy street in the eastern city of Lahore on January 27

A third Pakistani was struck down and killed by a US diplomatic vehicle that came to Davis’ assistance. US officials denied Pakistan access to the vehicle, and the occupants are widely believed to have left the country.

Washington has postponed a round of talks with Afghanistan and Pakistan, but Islamabad has said the matter is now before the courts and must proceed. One compromise would be for the families to pardon Davis, in keeping with Islamic law.

A judge at Lahore’s top court Monday ordered the government to appear March 14 to respond to private petitions related to his incarceration, the law on diplomatic privileges and how Davis was allowed into the country.

The court last week deferred any judgment on Davis’ diplomatic immunity and gave the foreign ministry until March 14 to determine his status.

US Senator John Kerry visited Pakistan last week to express regret and say Davis would face a criminal investigation, but the tortuousness of the case makes a swift resolution now appear unlikely.

AFP

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