Raymond Davis Affair

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On January 27, 2011 Raymond Davis, an American working at the U.S. Consulate in Lahore, Pakistan, shot and killed two men who approached his vehicle while in traffic. Davis was accused of murder. Some reports suggested that the two Pakistani men killed were intelligence operatives tasked with tracking Davis.The U.S. Consulate at first described Davis as “technical and administrative staff,” but provided no details. President Barack Obama described Davis as “our diplomat.”[1] Three weeks after the incident the U.S. government finally admitted Davis was in fact a CIA contractor. A Pakastani court in early February 2011 barred Davis's release despite an claim by U.S. officials for diplomatic immunity.

The controversy confounded Pakistan which recognized diplomatic agreements while at the same time had boiling public anger. The Koranic concept of diyat, or “blood money,” was raised, allowing murder cases to be settled if the victims’ families forgive the accused and agree to financial compensation.[2]

On February 23, 2011 senior U.S. and Pakistani military officers met at a resort on the Omani coast. After several more weeks of secret negotiations, political pressure by Pakistani officials on the courts, and a pledge of $2.3 million in “blood money” from the U.S. government, Davis was released on March 16, 2011 and quickly removed from the country. The outcome left many Pakistanis feeling that their secular judicial system had been seriously manipulated, in large part by the U.S. government.

The Davis affair sharpened Pakistani attention to—and acrimony toward—the presence of U.S. personal in Pakistan. Revelation of Davis as a CIA contractor led the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI), Pakistan’s main intelligence agency, to demand a full accounting of all such operatives working in Pakistan.[3]

In mid-April 2011, the ISI Chief, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha was in the United States to meet with Obama administration CIA Director Leon Panetta. Reports described Pasha as making significant demands for greater control over covert U.S. action in his country, as well as calls for a steep reduction in the number of CIA operatives and Special Forces in Pakistan, and a halt to drone strikes there. The demand to remove more than 300 American personnel was said to have come from Pakistani Army Chief Gen. Ashfaq Pervez Kayani.[4] The CIA reportedly agreed to be more open with Pakistani authorities about such employees and their activities, as well as more cooperative when planning strikes in Pakistan.[5]

See also

Abbottabad raid


  1. “Obama Calls for Release of U.S. Prisoner in Pakistan,” Reuters, February 15, 2011.
  2. ‘Blood Money’ Tradition Might Help Resolve U.S.-Pakistani Row, Los Angeles Times, March 13, 2011.
  3. Pakistani Agency Demands Data on CIA Contractors, New York Times, February 25, 2011; U.S.-Pakistan Intelligence Operations Frozen Since January, Reuters, April 9, 2011.
  4. Pakistan Tells U.S. It Must Sharply Cut C.I.A. Activities, New York Times, April 12, 2011.
  5. CIA , Pakistan Working to Repair Widening Rift in Relationship, Washington Post, April 13, 2011.