Pakistan Prevents US Diplomat From Leaving Country

An American attempt to bring back its diplomat involved in the killing of a youth in Islamabad after Pakistan barred Col Joseph Emanuel Hall from leaving the country.

As a result, a U.S. Air Force C130 flown in to Pakistan's Nur Khan air base outside Islamabad was forced to leave without him on Friday, Geo TV and the two newspapers reported.

Tensions between the USA 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.

Hall is accused of running a red light and killing one Ateeq Baig on April 7. The High Court gave the Interior Ministry to decide if Hall's name should be placed on the Exit Control List (a travel ban list), according to The Nation.

Col Hall accompanied by around eight people from the embassy reached the air base around five minutes later for boarding the aircraft, sources privy of the development have told Dawn News.

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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.

The relations between the two sides have been under pressure after US President Donald Trump accused Islamabad in January of lying to the United States and offering "little help in hunting terrorists".

"Since Joseph is understood to have diplomatic immunity, Pakistan's refusal to let him leave the country will be seen by Washington as a wholly unjustifiable and illegal act".

"We are ready for agreement but on the condition of his arrest", he said, referring to Colonel Hall.

The new US rules require diplomats to obtain permission to travel more than 40 kilometers (25 miles) from their stations, the local Dawn newspaper reported. So far no government official or U.S. Embassy official has offered us the agreement'.

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