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Pakistan bars US diplomat from leaving country

14 May 2018

It was unclear what prompted the moves but the developments come weeks after Pakistan barred a USA diplomat from leaving the country after he killed a Pakistani motorcyclist in Islamabad.

The US representatives waited for four hours at the Pakistani airbase but the FIA officials did not allow Hall to leave the country as his name was put on the blacklist by the Ministry of Interior.

On April 7, his vehicle ran a red light and a motorcyclist, Ateeq Baig, 22, was killed in the capital, Islamabad.

When Hall's credentials describe him as a diplomat, thus implying he enjoys immunity, Pakistan is contesting it even as the issue has become mired in local courts. A US Embassy spokesman refused to comment on the matter, it said.

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However, hardline elements in Pakistan are insisting that he be prosecuted in Pakistan.

Hall had reached Nur Khan Air Base for boarding the aircraft that had come to take him but he was not allowed to leave, an official told the newspaper. The aircraft eventually returned to Bagram.

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

Islamabad's high court, noting that Hall did not have full diplomatic immunity, had directed the government to decide whether to add his name to a travel ban list. The effort seems to be to keep him in Pakistan till that time.

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Also on Friday, Pakistan placed travel restrictions on United States diplomats based in the country, the latest in a series of retaliatory measures that threaten to plunge already strained relations to their worst level in years. Earlier in the week, Islamabad made a song and dance about the UN Al-Qaida/ISIL Sanctions Committee not approving Pakistan's proposal to list Umer Khalid Khorasani, aka Abdul Wali, the leader of Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, ostensibly because of U.S. objection, although Pakistan itself continues to shield terrorists such as Hafiz Saeed and Masood Azhar.

Colonel Hall on April 7 jumped a traffic signal in Islamabad and hit a motorbike carrying two men.

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

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Pakistan bars US diplomat from leaving country