Published: Mon, May 14, 2018
Global Media | By Derrick Guzman

Pakistan blocks departure of United States diplomat accused in vehicle accident

Pakistan blocks departure of United States diplomat accused in vehicle accident

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

Officials in Islamabad have demanded that the U.S. waive Hall's diplomatic immunity in order to face trial but so far America has refused. Just Friday, we saw the Foreign Office in a tit for tat move imposed reciprocal travel restrictions on American diplomats after the same were slapped by Washington on Pakistani diplomats.

A day earlier, an Islamabad court had ruled his diplomatic immunity may not apply in the April 7 traffic accident in which the US attache's vehicle hit a motorcycle, killing the 22-year-old driver, both papers reported.

A special plane, C-130, reached Noor Khan Airbase on Saturday to take along the accused diplomat, local media earlier reported, adding that the USA embassy had handed over the passport of the official to Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) immigration. Mr Hall was involved in a fatal accident and his case is being heard in Islamabad High Court, which the other day declared that he does not enjoy immunity.

The U.S. State Department on Saturday confirmed the new restrictions on its employees in Pakistan but declined further comment.

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 Trump administration has also sought to strengthen ties with India, Pakistan's bitter rival. Washington later suspended its security assistance to 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.

According to the FIR lodged after the incident, Iqbal misbehaved with police after the accident and attacked Abdul Sattar, the Station House Officer who became a complainant and stated that USA embassy official tried to resist police from shifting the vehicle and its driver to the station.

Idris Baig, the father of man killed in the accident, said in an interview that he was satisfied with the current proceedings. "So far no government official or US Embassy official has offered us the agreement".

The US serviceman has been placed on a travel ban "blacklist" and ordered to remain inside the country, Pakistan's Interior Ministry said.

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