US diplomat involved in road accident in Pakistan returns home

A senior US diplomat, who killed a Pakistani motorcyclist in a road accident here and triggered a controversy, has left the country after Washington apparently assured Islamabad that he would be tried under US laws. 

US diplomat involved in road accident in Pakistan returns home
Photo: Twitter

Islamabad: A senior US diplomat, who killed a Pakistani motorcyclist in a road accident here and triggered a controversy, has left the country after Washington apparently assured Islamabad that he would be tried under US laws. 

The overnight development comes days after Pakistan sent back an American plane, delaying the return of Defence attache Colonel Joseph Hall to the US amidst the controversy over his immunity from prosecution, media reports said today.

Hall had killed a 22-year-old motorcyclist and injured another on April 7 in Islamabad after jumping a red signal. 

Hall was let go by the Islamabad police in line with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, 1961 which gives diplomat immunity from criminal prosecution. However, a first information report of the incident was registered.

The incident has increased political tension between the countries.

Relations between Washington and Islamabad have been strained since US President Donald Trump accused Pakistan of "lies and deceit" and criticised Islamabad for providing safe havens to terror groups.

The Pakistan government reportedly took the decision to allow Hall to leave the country after the US government assured that Colonel Hall will be tried under US laws, diplomatic sources were quoted as saying by Dawn News.

The diplomat left for Afghanistan last night on a special flight, the report said.

The US Embassy in Islamabad also confirmed that the US diplomat has left Pakistan, the report said.

Diplomatic sources further confirmed that Colonel Hall was a US diplomat who held absolute immunity as per the Vienna Convention of 1972 and the privileges Pakistan extends to diplomats.

Geo TV reported that police had handed over all record related to Colonel Hall to US officials. 

Relatives of the victims had asked the government to prosecute Colonel Hall for murder. The Islamabad High Court ruled on Friday that Hall's immunity was not absolute and ordered the government to add his name to the list that bars anyone from leaving Pakistan.

Washington refused to withdraw the immunity of the diplomat but promised to hold him accountable under its domestic laws, Dawn quoted the sources as saying.

After the assurance, Hall was allowed to leave yesterday and apparently flew to Afghanistan initially on his way back to America, the sources said.
 

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