South Asia

Pakistan Prevents US Diplomat From Leaving the Country

The development came a day after Islamabad imposed "reciprocal" restrictions on the movement of American envoys.

Islamabad: A US diplomat involved in a fatal road accident in Pakistan was not allowed to leave the country on May 12, officials said, a day after Islamabad imposed “reciprocal” restrictions on the movement of American envoys after Washington took similar measures.

The latest move is likely to further strain ties between the two countries.

Local media showed footage of a US plane at Nur Khan airbase in Rawalpindi near Islamabad that reportedly arrived earlier today to fly back defence and air attache Colonel Joseph Emanuel Hall.

A security official said that the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) refused to give clearance to Hall flying out of the country as his name was on the blacklist and he could not leave Pakistan.

The plane later went back without the passenger it was sent to bring back, according to officials.

The development came a day after the Islamabad high court passed a judgement that the US diplomat did not enjoy absolute immunity. It also ordered the government to decide about adding his name to the Exit Control List, which controls the movement of people wanted by courts or those involved in corruption.

Colonel Hall on April 7 jumped a traffic signal in Islamabad and hit a motorbike carrying two men. One of them was killed. The man’s father had approached the Islamabad high court to stop the diplomat from leaving the country.

The issue has further strained ties between Pakistan and US.

According to the US decision, Pakistani diplomats, at the embassy in Washington and four consulates in New York, Los Angeles, Texas and Chicago, will need to stay within 40 km of the city of their posting.

(PTI)

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