USA aircraft returns after diplomat refused clearance to leave Pakistan

Erika Holt
May 14, 2018

Pakistan wants Hall to stand trial in Islamabad, and demanded the USA waive his immunity, but the latter has refused. Later, the C-130 returned to Afghanistan without the "killer" diplomat. At the very least, if Washington can not waive the diplomatic immunity to enable him to be prosecuted in Pakistan, Islamabad wants a commitment that he will be tried in the USA courts after he returns to America.

On April 7, Col Hall killed a youth and injured the pillion rider as he jumped the traffic signal at the intersection of Margalla Road and 7 Avenue in the federal capital.

USA officials declined to comment Sunday, citing the sensitivity of the situation.

According to the USA decision, Pakistani diplomats, at the embassy in Washington and four consulates in New York, Los Angeles, Texas and Chicago, will need to stay within 25 miles (40-kms) of the city of their posting.

The latest blow to relations came on Saturday, when Pakistani authorities banned a United States military attache from leaving as planned, Pakistan's The Nation and Express Tribune newspapers reported. The passenger on the bike was also wounded.

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On Friday, Islamabad's High Court, noting that Colonel Hall did not have full diplomatic immunity, left it up to the government to decide whether to add his name to a travel ban list.

His father had approached the Islamabad High Court to stop the diplomat from leaving the country.

"If the American authorities want to resolve this issue, they should opt for negotiations".

This came a day after both countries placed travel-restrictions on each others' diplomats. "This is not a wise handling of the situation", said Hasan Askari Rizvi, a defense and foreign policy analyst in Lahore.

Six weeks ago, the State Department threatened to impose a travel restriction on Pakistan's Washington diplomatic corps if the harassment did not end by Friday. They revoke a list of perks such as allowing diplomats to use tinted vehicle window glass, nondiplomatic license plates, unregistered cellphone SIM cards and unapproved radio communications in their residences and safe houses.

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