As far as the federal government is concerned, it has yet to show the much-needed resolve on the issue. Rather than clarifying its stand on the status of Raymond Davis, it has only created confusion. By all independent accounts, the killer does not have a diplomatic status. So why is the government reluctant to announce that? Finally, the shady American national who tried to run away after shooting two young men to death in Lahore, has been charged with double murder by the police. However, his associates in the back-up vehicle, who killed a motorcyclist in their attempt to rescue the killer, are still at large. The American Consulate in Lahore has refused to hand them over or to so much as even comment on the serious matter. These absconding criminals must be caught and punished. More importantly, the large number of mysterious personnel operating under the cover of the American diplomatic mission must be thrown out of Pakistan by the government. In his press conference, the CCPO Lahore said that the police had written to the federal authorities through the Punjab government for the recovery of the absconding Americans, and five reminders had been sent subsequently. The federal government is yet to come out and tell the nation what it has done in this regard. Has it written to the American Embassy for their recovery? Clearly, the ball is in the court of the federal government and, as in the case of the status of Raymond Davis, it is pussyfooting around the issue rather than taking it by the horns. It is mistaken if it thinks that the issue will die down as a consequence of its delaying tactics and silly games. In their first meeting with the Punjab Chief Minister seeking the release of Raymond Davis soon after the incident, officials of the American Consulate in Lahore, when asked to hand over the absconding criminals, are reported to have told the Chief Minister to approach the federal government and follow the proper channel. According to the report, the Chief Minister had pointed out that the Consulate officials should be following the same proper channel as well since the question of whether Raymond enjoyed diplomatic immunity or not had to be settled by the federal government. Apparently, this has not deterred the Consulate officials from demanding, and getting, special treatment for their killer in custody of the Punjab Police. The Punjab government and a whole brigade of senior Punjab Police officials are going out of their way to provide VIP facilities and security to Raymond at the Kot Lakhpat jail where he was sent after his police remand ended last Friday. These arrangements were inspected by Consulate officials on Thursday. Earlier, the media had reported on the special access given to the Consulate officials, while the killer was in police remand, despite his dubious credentials and clear evidence of his involvement in activities that fall under espionage and possibly subversion. It is a bit odd that a Consulate shielding absconders should be showered with these special privileges. Other than these favours, the Shahbaz administration has managed the case far better than the federal government, and has saved itself from being labelled as a certified American slave. Initially, it was bracketed together with the federal government on that count. Immediately after the incident, actions of certain Punjab Police officials had indicated their interest in protecting the killers. Talking to the media, a senior police official had virtually given the verdict that Raymond Davis had acted in self-defence. The police was reluctant to register an FIR against the unknown killers, who had killed Obaidur Rehman, the crushed motorcyclist, and it was only made possible after protesters gathered outside the Lytton Road police station and blocked the road. On the other hand, an FIR against Faizan and Faheem, who were shot dead by the US national, was readily registered accusing them of robbing cell phones. People smelled a rat. The popular perception at that time was that the Punjab government had decided to help the killers and their powerful backers in the American Consulate. These apprehensions have been somewhat assuaged by the preliminary findings of the police investigation that have charged Raymond Davis with double murder, rejecting his plea of self-defence. The five reminders about the recovery of absconding killers sent to the federal government also demonstrate that the Punjab government is doing what it is supposed to do. Some observers feel that this change of heart has come about due to the public pressure, and to prove its sincerity the Punjab government must take action against police officials that seemed to be helping the killers immediately after the incident, and investigate why they were doing it and on whose behest. As far as the federal government is concerned, it has yet to show the much-needed resolve on the issue. Rather than clarifying its stand on the status of Raymond Davis, it has only created confusion. By all independent accounts, the killer does not have a diplomatic status. So why is the government reluctant to announce that? In fact, even if the killer enjoyed diplomatic immunity, given the seriousness of the crime and his dubious activities and behaviour that do not fit into the definition of diplomacy, no matter how hard you stretch it, the government should not find it difficult to revoke it. Instead of becoming defensive and trying to find a way to hand over Raymond Davis to the Americans, it should be putting pressure on the American Embassy to hand over the absconding killers to the Punjab Police. Has it even taken up the issue with the stream of American high-ups, who are demanding the release of Raymond Davis? Has it written to the American Embassy in that regard or is it just sitting on the request forwarded by the Punjab Police and its five reminders? The federal government finds it very convenient to blame the odious American activities in Pakistan on the Musharraf regime and its agreements with the American government; whether it is the drone attacks or the activities of operatives of private security companies and CIA. This is a stupid excuse, and obviously the people of Pakistan did not vote for the government to continue Musharraf's policies. In any case, the Lahore incident that has sparked nationwide protest against American activities in the country, provides the perfect reason to renegotiate whatever clandestine agreements were made by Musharraf. The Pakistani citizens demand a better deal. The writer is a freelance columnist.