Friday, 3 December 2021

US defe­nce attaché bid to fly out of Pakistan foiled

us diplomate

ISLAMABAD: US defe­nce attaché Col Joseph Hall involved in a fatal road accident was on Saturday stopped from flying out on an American military aircraft by the Federal Inves­tigation Agency (FIA).

Col Hall had reached Nur Khan Air Base for boarding the aircraft that had come to take him but was not allowed to leave, an official said.

The US Air Force C-130 flew into Islamabad at 11.15am from Bagram airbase in Afghanistan. Col Hall accompanied by around eight people from the embassy reached the air base around five minutes later for boarding the aircraft.

The FIA officer on duty after finding out that it was Col Hall, held back his passport and sought directions from his high-ups, according to a source. The permission for Col Hall to leave was not granted and the special aircraft returned to Bagram at around 4pm.

The diplomat later returned to the embassy. A US Embassy spokesman refused to comment on the matter.

Col Hall last month ran a red light, killing a motorcyclist Ateeq Baig, 22.

Electronic media virtually gave wall-to-wall coverage for over two hours to the US attempt to get Col Hall out of the country after the news broke that a special military aircraft had reached Islamabad to take him.

The Islamabad High Court had a day earlier turned down a petition by Ateeq’s father seeking a direction for the government to put the diplomat’s name on the Exit Control List. The court, however, asked the government to decide within two weeks whether or not Col Hall should be placed on the ECL. The judge also noted that Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations provides immunity from arrest and detention to diplomats.

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