USA diplomat involved in hit-and-run case barred from leaving Pakistan

USA diplomat involved in hit-and-run case barred from leaving Pakistan

Pakistani authorities have reportedly prevented an American diplomat involved in a deadly vehicle accident from leaving Pakistan after a USA military plane arrived specifically to fly him out of the country.

On Friday, Islamabad's High Court, noting that Colonel Hall did not have full diplomatic immunity, left it up to the government to decide whether to add his name to a travel ban list.

Pakistan has asked USA officials to withdraw Hall's diplomatic immunity, and the matter is being reviewed by Pakistani courts.

Pakistan and the United States had announced restrictions on diplomats after a U.S. embassy vehicle driven by Colonel Joseph Emanual Hall, defense and air attache of the USA embassy in Islamabad, killed a Pakistani motorcyclist in Islamabad on April 7.

Hall is accused of running a red light and killing Ateeq Baig on April 7.

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The issue has further strained the ties between Pakistan and the USA which are already at odds over the issue of providing safe havens to the Taliban and the Haqqani network terror groups in Afghanistan.

On Saturday, Hall was prevented from boarding a USA plane, the latest twist in a dispute that has raised anti-American sentiment in Pakistan, a security ally that is increasingly at odds with the United States on major issues. Col Hall accompanied by around eight people from the embassy reached the air base around five minutes later for boarding the aircraft, sources privy of the development have told Dawn News.

Since President Donald Trump took office last January, US-Pakistan relations have soured considerably, with the administration cutting $1.3 billion in annual aid to Islamabad for security purposes.

The US Embassy in Islamabad has not commented regarding the report so far.

In what the Times described as retaliation, Pakistan placed travel restrictions on United States diplomats based in the country in a sign of worsening relations between the two countries. "My son will never come back and we will consult with our relatives and village community before negotiating the agreement".

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