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16 March 2011


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FB Ali,
This worked out as you predicted. I thought of you this afternoon when I heard Raymond Davis was free to go.

Your last paragraph about "diyyat" made me burst out laughing. I'm sure the rich and powerful in this country would love that aspect for Sharia Law.


I like your humor, FB Ali. But strictly this class doesn't need diyyat. Connections work, proceedings can be squashed ;)

The Twisted Genius

Brigadier Ali,

I've been looking forward to your summation on this case all day, especially after Clinton denied any payment came from the USG. The Saudi part in this story reminds me of your tale of "The Grocer and Alice's Cat." There are forces at work in this region that we in the West can barely comprehend... if at all. I wonder what quiet advice the Saudis gave Washington concerning Libya?

Patrick Lang


If it was quiet it was a disaster. pl

Adam L. Silverman

Brigadier Ali: with our media, even if it was reported, they wouldn't get it right...


Sir, if you remember O.J. Simpson murder case we have something similar. Despite winning the criminal case, O.J. had to pay in the civil case.


FB Ali,

The American version of diyyat involves trial lawyers.

Ali Mirza

FB Ali

Najam Sethi, an analyst, was on the telly yesterday night. He reports that the last month was spent to achieve just this eventuality. He also reported that the ISI/Military had been pushing the more sensationalist aspects of the case to whip up public sentiment ala Fox ;) to better their bargaining position. The negotiations included the Sharif brothers (facilitator role). Possibly why the elder brother (Nawaz) decided to go for a heart checkup yesterday. Questions remains as to what did the ISI/Military got in exchange, as the realist circles here in Pak always knew Mr Davis would be leaving the country.

Warm Regards to you and our host.


Wonderful post. Exceptionally illuminating and readable.

I am reminded of the scene in A Tale of Two Cities in which a gold coin is thrown out of a speeding carriage carrying the nobility which has just run over and killed a peasant child.


The rich in this country can get away with anything and not pay. Why would they want diyyat?

Patrick Lang


Soo, the two fellows that Davis shot are the equivalent of a "peasant child?" Also, I would remind that "diyyat" is a feature of Pakistani law. It was not imposed on Pakistan by the United States. This is a widespread feature of law systems that are centered on Sharia. In Saudi Arabia an American friend of mine was merely present when another American military man died in a recreational SCUBA accident. The Saudi police held him in confinement for quite a while until the dead man's family was queried n the States as to whether or not they wanted a formal investigation made so as to determine whether or not there was any degree of responsibility on the part of my friend. the result was held to be relevant to the issue of how much "diyyat" the Saudis would insist be paid to the victim's family. So, this is not something "cooked up" for this occasion. pl



Chris E

The PML-N is claiming that the families received payment during a pilgrimage to Mecca - possible Saudi involvement ?


Salam FB Ali,

Thank you, really helpful. How well you write!

I wonder what your thoughts are regarding the amount that was paid ~2.38 millions USD since the amount of the Diyyat is legally fixed at 4250 grams of gold (1000 dinars) per person equivalent to about 450.000 USD for the two unfortunate victims ?


The beaver

@ Chris E


FB Ali


I think the Saudis gave the US the same advice on Libya that they gave Nawaz Sharif and the Pakistani mullahs: Back off! No Arab ruler wants to see another of their class toppled, however rocky their mutual relations. They consider it a bad habit that they don’t want their populations to acquire. Regrettably, when the Saudis say: Jump! the US jumps.


Glad you liked it. The likely explanation for the sum paid being much larger than the legally required amount may have to do with all the sticky fingers that would be handling the money between its source and the poor families. One version of the story has it that the money was paid by the Saudis; if so, the Pakistani official intermediaries may well have upped the amount which “the families insisted upon receiving”. The families would be lucky if they actually got even the legal amount.


Brigadier Ali,

Excellent Post! It is a gift to write with understanding and humor.

If the families were paid in Saudi Arabia, that would cut out a number of Pakistani middlemen, and if they ever return to Pakistan, they will have the extra status of making the pilgrimage to Mecca.

The Bill Gate’s American Dream has come true for some very poor people.

My question is why would the Saudis pay?

Is the House of Saud still afraid of their offspring in the Northwest Territories and want to keep the bombing campaign ongoing?

Could the House of Saud maybe the reason the USA is still fighting the Taliban?


What about the fellow who was run over and killed by the CIA agent's friends rushing to save him?

I don't know whether he was a peasant.

FB Ali

An interesting development followed the release of Raymond Davis. On Thursday, a CIA drone fired at least four missiles into a gathering of tribesmen in North Waziristan, killing over 40, and injuring many more. ‘Suspected militants’ says the CIA; innocent tribesmen say Pakistani authorities. The Pakistan military has never commented on these drone attacks; this time it did, issuing the following statement:

Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani strongly condemned the predator strike carried out today in North Waziristan Agency resulting in loss of innocent lives.

It is highly regrettable that a jirga of peaceful citizens including elders of the area was carelessly and callously targeted with complete disregard to human life......in complete violation of human rights.....

COAS said: “Pakistan Army condoles with the families whose dear and near ones have been martyred in this senseless attack. Pakistan Army shares the grief of people of Waziristan. Troops on the ground have been ordered to render all possible assistance to the bereaved families.”


FB Ali

Vietnam Vet,

The Saudis show their superiority over (and latent contempt of) others by such payments. When the US and Pakistan approached them to help, they may well have said: Not only will we sort it out, we'll pay the money, too. (Of course, this is subject to the story of their paying being correct. I do not know).


Nothing is being said publicly, but I presume his family will be similarly compensated. Last year the US embassy paid diyyat in two cases where its staff ran over and killed people.

Michael Brenner

Embedded in the Davis tale, as explicated by F.B. Ali, is the supposition that a motley bunch of American operatives have expanded their objectives to include matters related to Pakistani nuclear weapons and/or the Punjabi based jihadi groups whose goals are internal. In any case, the implication is that Washington has arbitrarily expanded its mission in 'AfPak" to include shaping directly Pakistan's internal affairs. Their subtle agents are mr. Davies and his ilk. If we sought a formula for destablizing the country and truly putting the nukes in peril (while turning internal grievances against the US), then we have come up with the perfect script. I hesitate to affirm this conclusion, though, due to the ample evidence that the Obama bunch are incapable of conceiving and executing any coherent script.

William R. Cumming

General Ali! Case closed-maybe? what do you see as the short term and long term consequences of this arrangement for US and Pakistani relations? Is this how a future case of the same sort would now be resolved? A precedent in other words or just making a one time best of a bad sitution?


In non-criminal cases, such as the recreational scuba accident, American civil tort law provides for a payment which ends the matter. When a death is caused by criminal action a payment may be due but does not relieve the malefactor of his punishment -- be it prison or capitol punishment. The bereaved families have some slight influence on the level of punishment but no official power to mitigate it when presented with compensation.

Jon T

completely off thread:

Raymond Davis released yesterday.
Today a drone bombs a command structure in Waziristan and eliminates a group of Taliban and Al Queda leaders.

Is connecting these dots too simplistic?

To the West, in Eastern Libya, is the no fly zone plus 'all necessary measures' - is that in time to allow rebels to survive, regroup and form up cohesively, both militarily and politically?

William R. Cumming

Question General Ali? If the Saudis did facilitate either with blood money or other assistance what was there thinking? Keep Pakistan in the ring so to speak? Surely not helping the US out of a difficulty?

Your take?

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