Pak authorities bar US envoy involved in road accident from leaving country

May 13, 2018, 14:11
Pak authorities bar US envoy involved in road accident from leaving country

The diplomatic tiff between the United States (US) and Pakistan is brewing up like coffee, gradual-yet-strong and perhaps tad bitter.

The officials have said that the US diplomat, Col Joseph Hall, who is serving as defense attache in the US Embassy in Islamabad, was looking to fly out of the country in a special plane which arrived in Nur Khan Air Base from Bagram airfield in Afghanistan.

The United States has long complained that the police and security officials in Pakistan frequently harass American diplomats and their staff with traffic stops and citations that require considerable time and effort to resolve.

Pakistan has prevented a U.S. diplomat involved in a fatal road accident in Islamabad to leave the country, a move that could further strain the bilateral ties.

The issue has further strained the ties between Pakistan and the USA which are already at odds over the issue of providing safe havens to the Taliban and the Haqqani network terror groups in Afghanistan. As a result, two riders of the bike suffered injuries and one of them, 22-year-old Ateeq Baig, later died.

Sources said that a special aircraft had arrived at the Noor Khan Airbase earlier today to fly back the U.S. diplomat to Washington but the Federal Investigation Authority (FIA) obtained his passport for clearance.

The counsel during the court hearing contended that under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations 1961, there was a diplomatic "immunity", not "impunity".

Since President Donald Trump took office last January, US-Pakistan relations have soured considerably, with the administration cutting $1.3 billion in annual aid to Islamabad for security purposes.

'Since Joseph is understood to have diplomatic immunity, Pakistan's refusal to let him leave the country will be seen by Washington as a wholly unjustifiable and illegal act, ' he added.

'We are ready for agreement but on the condition of his arrest, ' he said, referring to Colonel Hall.