US diplomat allowed to leave Pakistan, sources say

The government reportedly took the decision after the US government assured that Col Hall will be tried under United states laws, the sources added. The diplomat has since left for Afghanistan on a special flight.

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

He enjoyed immunity from any criminal, administrative or civil action, they said.

On April 7, US Defence and Air Attaché Col Joseph Emanuel Hall had jumped a red light at the Daman-i-Koh Chowk in Islamabad and hit a motorcycle. As a result, two riders of the motorcycle had suffered injuries, and one of them, 22-year-old Ateeq Baig, had later expired from the trauma.

Col Hall had initially avoided arrest because of his diplomatic immunity, but a first information report (FIR) regarding the incident had been registered at the Kohsar Police Station.

Last week, the Islamabad High Court had ruled that the US diplomat did not have “absolute immunity”.

The Islamabad High Court had also heard a petition by Ateeq’s father seeking the placement of the diplomat’s name on the Exit Control List (ECL). It had subsequently asked the government to decide within two weeks whether or not Col Hall should be placed on the ECL.

The judge had noted that the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations provides immunity from arrest and detention to diplomats.

The Foreign Office had previously written to the US State Department for withdrawal of his immunity. The matter was also discussed during the last visit of US official Alice Wells.

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