FIA bars USA diplomat from leaving Pakistan

FIA bars USA diplomat from leaving Pakistan

Local media showed footage of a U.S. plane at Nur Khan airbase in Rawalpindi near Islamabad that reportedly arrived earlier today to fly back defence attaché Colonel Joseph Emanuel Hall.

Col Hall had escaped arrest because of diplomatic immunity but a first information report (FIR) regarding the incident was registered with Kohsar Police Station. The reports said Col Joseph was not granted clearance by the FIA to fly overseas.

A U.S. diplomat involved in a fatal road accident in Pakistan was not allowed to leave the country today, officials said, a day after Islamabad imposed "reciprocal" restrictions on the movement of American envoys after Washington took similar measures.

Sources aware of the developments told The Nation that the U.S. special plane (C-130) had landed at the airport on Saturday morning but the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) prevented Col Hall to leave the country as he was not having clearance from the relevant quarters.

A day earlier, an Islamabad court had ruled his diplomatic immunity may not apply in the 7 April traffic accident in which the United States attache's vehicle hit a motorcycle, killing the 22-year-old driver, both papers reported. Consequently, two riders of the bike suffered injuries and one of them, 22-year-old Ateeq Baig, succumbed to his injuries.

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In its ruling on Friday, the IHC also granted two weeks to the Ministry of Interior to put Col Joseph's name on Exit Control List (ECL).

The deceased man's daddy has called for the colonel to stand trial in Islamabad high-court (IHC).

Although Colonel Joseph is not on the ECL, his name has been blacklisted by the ministry, barring him to fly overseas. However, placing anybody's name on the blacklist has nearly the same implications as the ECL. That came days after President Trump complained on Twitter that Pakistan had "given us nothing but lies & deceit" and accused it of providing "safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan". They would need to seek prior permission if they meant to travel beyond the prescribed limit.

Tensions between the USA and Pakistan have been rising over the fatal accident, which infuriated many Pakistanis and has resulted in the two countries restricting the movement of each other's remaining diplomats, Reuters reported. "We do not discuss details of diplomatic conversations", the spokeswoman said. "I don't know anything about it", he maintained.

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