Fear of facts - Z A Ashras - Friday, March 18, 2011

Source : http://thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=36840&Cat=9&dt=3/18/2011

With Raymond Davis now having presumably left the country, the whereabouts of the families who were said to have been paid ‘blood money’ unknown and which government or agency actually paid the money equally unknown – there is a lot we do not know.

Whilst it is understandable that the negotiations around the eventual release of this double-murderer were never going to be conducted in public, once the matter is concluded then surely there is no harm in the public, and the rest of the world, knowing rather more of the facts than is currently the case.

It is the absence of hard and verifiable information not just in this sorry case but in so many other matters that feeds directly into the culture of conspiracy theory and mistrust of this and every other government.

If we are not told then inevitably the common men is going to ‘fill in the blanks’ with often poorly informed speculation that quickly and by repetition assumes the mantle of fact-hood.

A day after Davis release we are still little the wiser. There are street protests and the judge who released him has suddenly gone on leave. In a classic example of slamming the stable door after the horse has bolted, a barrister has filed a petition in the Lahore High Court challenging the release and saying it was ‘a violation of the law’ – which must qualify as a frivolous waste of the court’s time.

As to where the money came from, it appears that we paid up in the end, presumably against a quiet promise from Uncle Sam that he would hand us a fat brown envelope at some unspecified future date - but we cannot confirm or deny that.

The families that presumably are the sad beneficiaries of the deal may have to find new lives for themselves, because there are going to be plenty of people anxious to become their new best friends once the money lands in their accounts.

And the government?

Ah yes, the government. They appear to be busy saying as little as possible and putting distance between themselves and the decision-making process, claiming it was purely a judicio-legal matter and thus not for comment. Case closed.

The matter had to be resolved of course - but a complete absence of transparency has left a sour taste in the mouth and a sense of justice denied in the minds of a wider public.

The CIA and our sensitive agencies are already making cooing noises at one another indicating that it is back to business as usual, and Uncle Sam celebrated with a drone-strike killing at least 22 in Waziristan.

For the common man the Davis affair is going to stink for many years.

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