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Pak softens stand on American immunity

Pakistan will tell a court that most of its legal experts believe a detained American has diplomatic immunity, but will leave it to a judge to rule on his status, an official said on Tuesday — a sign that Islamabad is trying to give US an opening to free the man while avoiding a backlash at home.

world Updated: Feb 16, 2011 01:21 IST

Pakistan will tell a court that most of its legal experts believe a detained American has diplomatic immunity, but will leave it to a judge to rule on his status, an official said on Tuesday — a sign that Islamabad is trying to give US an opening to free the man while avoiding a backlash at home.

US employee Raymond Davis has been held by Pakistani authorities since he fatally shot two Pakistanis in January.

Pakistani government officials have for days avoided taking a definitive stand on Davis’ legal status, in the face of popular anger over the shootout. Thousands have rallied against Davis, and the Taliban have threatened attacks against Pakistani government officials if Davis is freed.

However, a Pakistani official said on Tuesday that after reviewing the matter, most of the experts in Pakistan’s law and foreign offices believe that Davis is immune from prosecution.