US diplomat involved in fatal accident leaves Pakistan

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Islamabad, May 15 (IANS) A senior US diplomat who killed a motorcyclist in a road accident here last month was allowed by the Pakistani authorities to leave the country just days after officials prevented him from boarding a US military plane.

Col. Joseph Emanuel Hall, the Defence Attache at the US Embassy in Islamabad, was accused of jumping a red light and fatally hitting a 22-year-old motorcyclist on April 7. Another passenger on the bike was injured.

He was booked for unintentional murder and placed on an exit control list by the Interior Ministry.

“We can confirm that the American diplomat … departed from Pakistan,” a US embassy spokesman told Dawn online.

He left Nur Khan Airbase on board an American military aircraft that had come to pick him up a couple of days after the diplomat was refused exit by the Federal Investigation Agency.

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A source told Dawn that the issue was resolved through negotiations and the Pakistani authorities had conveyed their willingness to let him go. The diplomat was permitted to leave after his name was removed from the exit control list.

The Pakistan Foreign Office had earlier asked the US embassy to withdraw the diplomat from diplomatic immunity so that he could be tried for the crime. The embassy refused to do so and demanded that the diplomat be allowed to leave the country.

The report said the government allowed Col. Hall’s departure as conciliatory gesture after it imposed reciprocal movement restrictions on US diplomats, besides withdrawing several special concessions extended to them.

The Pakistani move was in response to similar restrictions imposed on Pakistani diplomats by the US government, it said.

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The restrictions imposed by both sides symbolized a downward spiralling in an already tense relationship between the two countries.

–IANS

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