Saturday, May 12, 2018

Pakistan blocks US diplomat from leaving country

Pakistani authorities have reportedly prevented an American diplomat involved in a deadly car accident from leaving Pakistan after a U.S. military plane arrived specifically to fly him out of the country.
Pakistan's The Nation and The Express Tribune reported Saturday that Col. Joseph Hall, the U.S. Embassy's military attaché in Pakistan, was prevented from leaving the country while U.S. officials were informed he could not leave until the accident was adjudicated.
An Islamabad court has ruled that Hall's diplomatic immunity does not protect him in the case of the April 7 accident, in which Hall's vehicle struck a 22-year-old motorcycle driver, killing him.
"The government can't overlook the court orders into the matter," a source told the Tribune.
A U.S. Air Force C130 had landed at Pakistan's Nur Khan air base to bring Hall back to the United States, but was forced to leave without him, according to local reports.
Tensions between the U.S. and Pakistan have been rising over the fatal accident, which infuriated many Pakistanis and has resulted in the two countries restricting the movement of each other's remaining diplomats, Reuters reported.
A spokeswoman for the State Department confirmed the travel restrictions on Pakistani and American diplomats to the news service, but would not comment on Hall's situation.
"We are in regular communication with our Pakistani counterparts. We do not discuss details of diplomatic conversations," the spokeswoman said.

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