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Suicide may rile US foes in Pakistan

Associated Press / February 7, 2011

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LAHORE, Pakistan — The wife of a Pakistani man shot and killed by a US official committed suicide yesterday, explaining before she died that she was driven to act by fears the American would be freed without trial, a doctor said.

The United States has demanded Pakistani authorities release the American, saying he shot and killed two armed men in self-defense when they attempted to rob him as he drove his car in the eastern city of Lahore. He was arrested on Jan. 27, and the United States has said he has diplomatic immunity and is being illegally detained.

The shootings have stoked anti-American sentiment in Pakistan, feelings that could be further inflamed by Shumaila Kanwal’s suicide. She died several hours after being rushed to a hospital after ingesting rat poison, said Ali Naqi, the doctor in Faisalabad city who treated her.

“I do not expect any justice from this government,’’ Kanwal said in a statement recorded by the doctor before she died. “That is why I want to kill myself.’’

The case puts Pakistan’s government in a difficult position. The government relies on the United States for billions of dollars in aid but is wary of being seen as doing Washington’s bidding. The United States is widely unpopular in Pakistan, in part because of its undeclared campaign of drone missile strikes along the northwest border with Afghanistan.

The government could face charges of being a US lackey if it hands Raymond Davis over to the United States. But refusing to do so risks harming a relationship with a vital ally.

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