Pakistan bars U.S. diplomat from leaving country

Howard TerryMay 13, 2018

An Islamabad court has ruled that Hall's diplomatic immunity does not protect him in the case of the April 7 accident, in which Hall's vehicle struck a 22-year-old motorcycle driver, killing him.

Ateeq Baig, 2-2, has been murdered in the wreck from Daman-e-Koh, north of Islamabad, on 7 April.

Sources said that as the diplomat was on the blacklist, he could not fly out of the country without taking prior permission from relevant quarters.

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

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 court during the hearing also remarked that the USA diplomat did not have absolute immunity in the country.

Arrest orders have also been given for all other officials involved in helping Colonel Joseph flee from the police station, sources told the channel.

Separately, Pakistan's foreign ministry said it would apply travel restrictions to all US diplomatic staff similar to those applied by Washington, according to a notification sent to the US Embassy on Friday and obtained by Reuters.

However, according to the correspondent, the FIA team is awaiting orders from the top authorities to released the U.S. official.

Richard Snelsire, a spokesman for the US Embassy in Islamabad, refused to deny or confirm the event. So far no government official or U.S. Embassy official has offered us the agreement'.

Neither the USA or Pakistan has commented on Saturday's news. "For the privacy and security of those involved, we can not disclose the diplomat's current location", the State Department spokesperson said.

Pakistani authorities have imposed "reciprocal" restrictions on the movement of US diplomats in the country after Washington took similar measures.

The issue has further strained the ties between Pakistan and the United States which are already at odds over the issue of the Taliban and Afghanistan.

After Col Joseph's issue last month, the US State Department had announced that Pakistani diplomats would only be allowed to move around within the 40km radius in Washington DC.

Meanwhile, when asked, Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal said he was unaware of any developments related to the arrival of a United States plane to take away Col Joseph.

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