Washington: US President Barack Obama’s National Security Advisor Tom Donilon delivered a presidential threat to Pakistan that it must release double-murder accused US diplomat Raymond Davis by Friday or face the consequences, according to Pakistani officials.
Two Pakistani officials involved in negotiations about Davis said that Donilon summoned Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US, Husain Haqqani, to the White House on Monday evening, ABC News reports.
Donilon told him that the US will kick Haqqani out of the country, close US consulates in Pakistan and cancel Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari’s upcoming visit to Washington if the detained US embassy employee is not released from custody by Friday, the officials added.
A senior US official, who was not authorised to speak on the record, confirmed the outlines of the threat.
While a White House spokesperson, Tommy Vietor, declined any comment, Ambassador Haqqani denied via Twitter that any “US official, incl the NSA, has conveyed any personal threats 2 me or spoken of extreme measures.”
US officials believe that Davis’ life is in danger the longer he spends time in a Lahore jail cell, the target of anti-American resentment from Pakistani citizens, some of whom have called for the US national to be executed.
“Our first fear is that the sentiment of the street in Pakistan is, ”Let’s take him and hang him’,” said a current senior US official, according to whom administration officials fear that the Pakistan government lacks control over the Lahore municipal police, who have Davis in custody.
Meanwhile, in a statement to the news channel, Ambassador Haqqani denied that the US and Pakistan were “negotiating through threats”.
“Both sides are trying to work out a way forward,” said Haqqani, adding, “Our countries are sufficiently close to handle an irritant in our relationship.”