Pakistan Prevents US Diplomat From Leaving the Country

US diplomat doesn't have'absolute immunity

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.

Pakistan won't allow a US diplomat to leave the country after he was involved in a fatal traffic crash, a Pakistani intelligence official.

Colonel Joseph Hall, a defence attaché, accompanied by eight people from the US Embassy had reached Nur Khan Air Base in Rawalpindi to board a special aircraft that had arrived from Bagram base in Afghanistan.

The US embassy has also reportedly handed over passport of the diplomat to FIA immigration officials, who are awaiting orders from the top authorities for further action.

The US embassy and Pakistan's foreign office declined to comment.

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Islamabad's high court, noting that Hall did not have full diplomatic immunity, had directed the government to decide whether to add his name to a travel ban list. Also on Friday, Pakistan placed travel restrictions on USA diplomats based in the country, the latest in a series of retaliatory measures that threaten to plunge already strained relations to their worst level in years.

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.

The relations between the two sides have been under pressure after US President Donald Trump accused Islamabad in January of lying to the United States and offering "little help in hunting terrorists".

The issue has further strained ties between Pakistan and US. "We do not discuss details of diplomatic conversations", the spokesperson said.

The father of man killed in the accident, Idris Baig, said in a recent interview that Col. Hall must face justice in Pakistan and was satisfied to see the authorities had not let him leave the country. "My son will never come back and we will consult with our relatives and village community before negotiating the agreement".

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