Widow of man 'killed' by US envoy commits suicide

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The Independent Online

The widow of one of the Pakistani men allegedly shot and killed by an American official in Lahore has committed suicide in an attempt to secure justice.

After being taken to hospital on Sunday morning Shumaila Kanwal, 18, said she swallowed some insecticide because she was convinced that Raymond Davis would be granted diplomatic immunity and not face trial over her husband's death.

Before succumbing to the poison, she told reporters at the Allied Hospital in Faisalabad: "I want blood for blood. The way my husband was shot, his killer should be shot in the same fashion."

Her family members had taken her to the hospital where her stomach was pumped, but it was too late to save her life. "I do not expect any justice from this government. That is why I want to kill myself," Ms Kanwal said in a statement recorded by a doctor.

Ms Kanwal had been married for six months to Muhammad Faheem, one of two men who were shot and killed last month, reports said. Mr Davis claimed the men drew weapons after approaching him on a motorcycle while he was waiting in his car at a traffic light in Lahore. A third person was killed when a second vehicle from the US consulate sped to the scene and crossed to the wrong side of the road.

Mr Davis, described as a "technical adviser" to the US consulate in Lahore, has been detained and charged with murder. The US insists he has diplomatic immunity and should be released. It is widely assumed he is a security or intelligence officer. A court has issued an order banning the authorities from releasing Mr Davis and placed his name on an "exit control list" to prevent him from leaving Pakistan.

Pakistani officials and politicians – loathe to be seen as giving in to demands from the US – have preferred to let the courts handle the matter for now. At some point the case is going to present them with the difficult choice between agreeing to the US demands and triggering domestic disapproval, or else insisting the American be tried in Pakistan and angering a key ally and donor.

Ms Kanwal attended a prayer ceremony for her husband on Saturday.