The Contractor by Raymond Davis: An Analysis

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Tahira Khan
The recent media hype is all about Raymond Davis, former CIA contractor, and his memoir titled as “The Contractor: How I landed in a Pakistani Prison and Ignited a Diplomatic Crisis.” Given the requirements of book, he has tried to pen down his side of the story where a routine drive ended in shooting two men in Lahore on January 27, 2011. A third man was also killed by SUV which was racing to aid him.
The whole melodrama ended when the victims’ families received blood money worth of $ 2.4 million as a compensation for his release. Raymond Davis was set freed on March 16, 2011- spending almost 49 days in Pakistani prison.
According to Raymond Davis, fabricated stories were set up in order to malign his reputation and, actual facts of the story were always kept behind the scenes. Amazon.com describes the introduction of book in the following words;
“A lot has been written about the time contractor Raymond Davis spend in a Pakistani jail in 2011. Unfortunately, much of it is misleading- or downright false- information.”
He was painted as a part of technical and administrative staff of Islamabad embassy by US administration to their Pakistani counter-parts. Formerly, he had also been a part of US Special Forces for some time.
R.D. dissects the incidents in order to tell what is existing in fact and what it is not. If we do deep introspection, the book could be divided into following parts;
  • When incident occurred and how it led to killing of three men?
  • The escape story and concerned authorities involved in it.
  • The long drawn out process of interrogation which was taken during ‘Fourteen Days Remand’ period of him- as per court orders.
  • Begging bowl of Pakistan and economic disparities within the state.
  • Diplomatic tensions between Washington and Islamabad.
  • Who paid compensation money to the families?
  • Role of national institutions, more specifically military, in this scenario.
  • How media drawn analysis of the situation and how he see its domestic and international impacts?
  • D. was held in prison against his will and in contradiction with the legality of the circumstances.
  • Surprisingly, R.D. has also tried to throw light on Jinnah Vision of Pakistan and Zia’s Islamization policies which, unfortunately, led to long overhaul of militancy.
  • Role of religion and its manipulation by authorities.
As a former soldier take, the book doesn’t only provide sober reflection of both his miserable and patriotic life but also gives account of war on terror and its devastating fortune for the people involved in it.
Let’s move towards the very first portion of the book i.e., the actual know how of the incident.
Two men named as Muhammad Fahim and Faizan Haider, earlier that morning, tried to kill him at Mozang chowk Lahore by pointing gun at his car. According to him, they’re either ISI agents or some professional robbers. If we go for the first option it seems, somehow, absurd.
How ISI got wind of his arrival at Mozang Chowk, Lahore where at questioning period the book depicted that ISI was desperate to know about his place of departure in accordance with to acquire clue of other team members and their activities?”
Raymond Davis didn’t tell about his actual driving point in order to save both the secrecy and lives of his teammates. His bravery and ability to tackle such situations, however, doesn’t prove his guess that the two armed men were military agents.
Let’s try the other option that both those men were robbers.
As per book analysis, the two men were having straight records of numerous robbery cases. So, even if we accept that they were intended to rob you doesn’t demonstrate that they tried to kill you. There is, indeed, no evidence regarding that neither in book nor in Pakistani and US official records.
The allegations seems dubious and it must be noted that fastest speed, consisting of 0.9 seconds from lifting of shirt to drawing gun, and professionalism can’t show something legal or being right done. In order to manifest something, we need concrete evidence not just speculations or sharpest sense of getting threats. There R.D. failed to establish some solid ground for incident with regard to evince his assertion.
The other part of the story deals with his escape plane.
In explaining further developments, R.D. says that ISI, the main actor, Nawaz Sharif, current Prime Minister, Asif Ali Zardari, the then President, and Hussain Haqqani, Pakistan ambassador to US; all collaborated in his escape plane. This is both unfortunate and shameful account of our political and military establishment which let the criminal got scot-free with that much ease.
Yes, the regrettable attitude of our top politicians has been the matter of fate since the very first day. This, ultimately, helps people like Raymond Davis to disrespect Pakistani Nation with their baseless remarks having no fear of accountability. The situation of maybe or maybe not can’t provide sound footings to any story.
The problem of leadership, weak institutions and economic vulnerability has enabled the military to acquire that prestigious role in the country with absolute power.
That’s why it is said that:
Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
First, it is because of intellectual stagnation and second, it is due to inability of building the counter narrative which then manage general masses to have firm faith in foreign talks- whether beneficial or harmful for the national integrity and sovereignty.
The third major thing being discussed in book is regarding the economic conditions of Pakistan.
A large chunk of literature is devoted to the economy of Pakistan. As far as economic conditions are concerned, a wide variety of books are available from well-known think tanks and reputed institutions but R.D. seems interested in the field because of two reasons:
He was acquitted by LHC because of ‘sharia law of diyat’ involving money.
For him, US pressurized Pakistan for his release under the cover of USAID (Both developmental and militaristic ones).
Like R.D. many developmental professionals, politicians and policy makers tend to ridicule Pakistan for accepting American dollars without thinking about two main questions;
What are the Intentions behind pouring money in green land?
Why America is keenly interested in aiding Pakistan even if there exists a question mark on latter’s credibility and ability?
According to database being compiled by Centre for Global Development, a large amount of US aid is released during military rule which ultimately strengthened dictatorship against civilian rule. Statistical data suggests that sharp decline occurred in 1990s which witnessed parliamentary democracy. In this order, more facts are needed to be checked.
If US aid has helped in the need of hour, like that of floods, which is, of course, commendable but on the other hand NATO war in Afghanistan has cost Pakistan $68 billion. In additions, the report has more shocking revelations such as;
“The billions of dollars in US military assistance to Pakistan are no different which in fact help sustain the defense economy in the US. Pakistan ends up buying US-made weapons and fighter jets from the very military assistance it receives from the US, and money it borrows from international lenders.”
 So, we must first learn the other side of the story as well before passing any sort of judgmental arguments.
Realizing the given emphasis on economy of Pakistan, the books must be titled as:
“The Contractor of CIA: How I landed in Pakistan prison and acquitted through region’s Economic crisis.”
Let’s move towards the compensation money which was meant to be given by culprit to the affected families.
In R.D. book, the money was paid by ISI which was later on reimbursed by US. This seems a guess because of the following reasons:
As a prisoner, at that time, how did R.D. know who paid money?
According to US official records there is no news regarding reimbursement of money. As a private contractor, how could one manage to reach the highly classified information?
Sadly, R.D. arguments used in the book are not an inch short of ‘Political Science Fiction’ which is needed to be reviewed critically. Blaming others with such sweeping statements is nothing but a blunder only.
R.D. further reiterates that he was held in prison against law. Funny, isn’t it? Both state and international law allows administration of any region to arrest any foreigner who is charged with the murder of its citizens. He was part of US consulate and diplomatic immunity couldn’t be applied in accordance with the qualifications presented in Vienna Conventions of 1960 and 1963.
Last but not the least, the manipulation of religion in Islamic Republic of Pakistan is discussed. If we look into Amitai Etzioni’s “Security First”, he has detailed the reasons behind vulnerability of every religion including Christianity and US Politics involved in it.  Every religion is prone to be used by politicians and other stake holders. So, pointing at Islam will not help anyone strengthen their opinionated literature lacking reason and logic.
Besides, further more loopholes are left unanswered in the book which are as under;
The book is worth $17 but available for free in Pakistan in form of Pdf. The book having potential for ‘International Best Book seller’ is, thus, arousing many suspicions being viewed as a part of some conspiracy theory.
The book also describes Osama Bin Laden planning being made in US and meeting of US officials with Pakistan army at Oman. How could a private contractor know this top secret information while being kept in jail?
In one chapter, R.D. examines the difficulties of contractor in Afghanistan where they’re not even provided with computer facility and phone calls. So, then, how they enabled to get intelligence secrets?
Timings behind the book release also seems controversial.
The fact that institutions are either weak or manipulated could not strengthen baseless remarks. Keeping in view the standards of logical reasoning, R.D. whole story is lacking connection between events and facts which is needed to be reviewed critically. Constructivism upholds that key structures in any state are inter-subjective and social. In this regard, any individual’s personality, perceptions, activities and choices can’t, wholly, determine state dynamics including economy, government, interest groups and national interest.
Writer is a team member of Balochistan Voices and a Student of BS (Hons) Political Science in University of the Punjab, Lahore. She hails from Loralai District. Click here to read previous articles written by the author.
DisclaimerViews expressed in this article are those of the author and Balochistan Voices not necessarily agrees with them.
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