As if there was already not enough odium for American national Raymond Davis for his shooting of two Pakistani young men and the running down of a third, the recent suicide of one of the victims widows has made even more problematic his release - a goal on which the US has already staked more than it staked when it was unsuccessful in the release of its servicemen in Italy, Japan and Singapore. However, the suicide has once again showed that the USAs so-called war on terror is claiming much more of a toll than is revealed by the simple figures, horrific as they are. Though Faheems widow Shumaila may have been protesting Davis impending release, her suicide was a combination of being widowed at such an early stage in her marriage as well as horror at the treatment of widows in a society still more Hindu than the Muslim label, which is supposed to have made it such a hotbed of terrorism that foreigners cannot wander around unescorted. Unescorted, but not unarmed. Perhaps more than the killing, Davis handiness with weapons is what confirmed suspicions that he was up to no good, and was probably a Blackwater operative. The constant pressure being exerted for his release also seems more the work of a corporation with an inside track on the American establishment, rather than that of a grassroots campaign consisting of ordinary Americans. Even the US Embassy does not claim that Davis is part of anything but its support staff, and thus is entitled to diplomatic status. Diplomatic status has been used before to escape a charge of murder, but in previous instances, the diplomat is supposed to have killed someone in a road accident. Here, paradoxically, the accused American can defend himself by admitting the murder, but claiming that he did so to defend himself. The problem with that is that the investigator has found he has used excessive force. He faces two problems: First, he (or rather his lawyer) will have to show that he did not use excessive force; and second, he will have to explain a lot of things, like what he was doing in the area, and why he was carrying a weapon. Even after offering those explanations, there is no guarantee of his being acquitted, and it is more than likely that it is to avoid the statement and the cross-examination that is bound to follow, that the US is anxious to avoid Davis appearing in court. If Davis is, as he seems, a Blackwater operative, the US is probably learning the cost of farming out any part of delicate foreign operations to private contractors, That Davis is not a diplomat engaged in diplomatic work is a complication only the USA has placed itself in. That it was using him for doing work that would hardly be appropriate is another inescapable conclusion, and he was probably engaged not in traditional espionage, but actual sabotage. It was perhaps no coincidence that there had been a blast in the Old City recently, seemingly meant to target either the last day of Data Sahibs urs or the chehlum of Imam Hussain, which occurred the same day. Another sign that a contractor is involved, rather than a diplomat, is the pressure being exerted back home for his release. Even though the average US citizens concept of Pakistani jails is based more on films like Midnight Express than its status as an ally in the war on terror, the movement for his release has gone to the extent of threatening to cut off US aid to Pakistan. That is probably felt more in Islamabad more than the stopping of visits to Pakistan by the US officials and delegations. However, the logic is clear: if Pakistan is taking its money, then it should not insist on the application of its law on its citizens. By this extension of diplomatic status, the US is seeking the principle of extraterritoriality to be applied to its citizens. However, this principle, as in the present case, is being extended even beyond what was laid down for China in the last century before the Second World War: The application of that countrys laws to its citizens even though they were not in that country, to the exclusion of that countrys own laws. There is no mention of Davis facing any legal consequences in the US, so what is being asked for is for him to enjoy a state of lawlessness. Not just lawlessness, but extreme lawlessness, where he can kill human beings without normal consequences. This means that the citizens of Pakistan are to accept that, in addition to being targeted by drones in the tribal areas, they may be targeted in their own cities by Americans. A major reason for Davis not being released is that there is turmoil in the Muslim world, and the US does not want to give protesters an excuse for coming onto the streets. However, the moment seems to have passed. Though Shumailas suicide seems to have had more to do with her inability to face widowhood so soon after marriage and without any children, the opportunity for a movement seems to have passed, because such a movement would also have disturbed those protesting, by forcing them to ask why such a Hindu custom, as what was practically sati (the throwing of widows onto the funeral pyre of a dead man) had persisted in a Muslim country. It may have been seen before partition or not, but one consequence of separating from India is that Hindu customs were not just attacked on the ground of their not conforming to modernity, but of not being Islamic. Among the host of Hindu customs brought along by the converts from Hinduism whose descendants constituted the vast majority of the citizens of the new state, was that of the treatment of widows. Only the cries of Sati mai ki jai were missing, otherwise the suicide conformed to the custom, taking place after the widow had consulted her family, though admittedly it did not take place at the funeral of the murdered man. The importance of Raymond Davis can be seen from the fact that not only has the US Secretary of State exerted herself in his cause before the Pakistani President and COAS, but the US has threatened to put the entire bilateral relationship on the line. That too should tell Pakistan something, and the question of what would happen if a Pakistani diplomat had gunned down Americans and then claimed they were trying to rob him, should not be asked. Instead, if an American, not a diplomat, had gunned down Indians, what would happen? Americans expect in Pakistan the treatment they get in Afghanistan, where they can kill Afghans almost with impunity. The government should also be aware that Daviss release would be a vote of no-confidence in the Pakistani court system. Davis should expect justice from a Pakistani court, with many of its defects caused by its being an Anglo-Saxon model operated in a subcontinental environment. For example, one of the problems that afflict the system are people using, even manipulating, the judicial system to pursue enmities. Indeed, that is how Davis will prove self-defence, by proving that he had no old enmity with the deceased. However, now that Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and his colleagues on the Supreme Court have tried to reform the judicial system, Davis will get justice here, and the US, which has survived the WikiLeaks, should not fear anything that Davis can reveal. And nor should the Pakistani government which has not even been threatened by the original killings.