Pakistan bars U.S. diplomat involved in fatal road accident from leaving country

Frederick Owens
May 14, 2018

A day earlier, the U.S. barred diplomats at the Pakistani Embassy from traveling outside a 25-mile radius around Washington without approval.

As a result, a U.S. Air Force C130 flown in to Pakistan's Nur Khan air base outside Islamabad was forced to leave without him on Friday, Geo TV and the two newspapers reported.

Sources said that the USA diplomat wasn't present at the airbase but would reach there after being allowed to leave the country.

In the meantime, New York Times reported that Pakistan's Interior Ministry said Hall is on a "blacklist" and is not allowed to leave because of the criminal case pending against him.

On April 7, US Defence and Air Attaché Col Joseph Emanuel Hall ran a red light at Daman-i-Koh Chowk and hit a motorcycle.

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

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The latest spat comes amid deteriorating ties between the two countries, with both sides restricting the movement of each other's diplomats in their respective capitals, and the Trump administration seemingly determined to punish Pakistan for its terrorist infractions.

Pakistan officials have demanded the United States waive his diplomatic immunity so that he can face a criminal trial, but American officials have refused. In fact it is the second time in the last couple of days that Pakistan has taken a bold and just stance on an issue with Washington. But Washington has long believed it actually shelters the Taliban's leaders, and President Donald Trump has cut off military aid in an effort to pressure Pakistan.

'This is a development that could well develop into a full-blown crisis for relations if it's not resolved soon, ' said South Asia expert at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington Michael Kugelman.

The new US rules require diplomats to obtain permission to travel more than 40 kilometers (25 miles) from their stations, the local Dawn newspaper reported.

When Hall's credentials describe him as a diplomat, thus implying he enjoys immunity, Pakistan is contesting it even as the issue has become mired in local courts. "My son will never come back and we will consult with our relatives and village community before negotiating the agreement". So far no government official or U.S. Embassy official has offered us the agreement'.

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