US diplomat involved in road accident in Pak returns home

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ISLAMABAD, May 15 (PTI): A US diplomat, who killed a Pakistani motorcyclist in a road accident last month, has left the country amidst controversy over his immunity from prosecution.

Defence attache Colonel Joseph Hall killed a motorbike rider and injured another on April 7 in Islamabad after jumping a red signal. A case was registered but he was never formally arrested due to diplomatic immunity.

The government reportedly took the decision after the US government assured that Colonel Hall will be tried under US laws, the diplomatic sources were quoted as saying by Dawn News.

The diplomat has since left for Afghanistan on a special flight.

The US Embassy in Islamabad also confirmed that the US diplomat has left Pakistan, the report said.

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

Relatives of the victims had asked the government to prosecute Colonel Hall for murder. The Islamabad High Court ruled on Friday that Hall’s immunity was not absolute and ordered the government to add his name to the list that bars anyone from leaving Pakistan.

Washington refused to withdraw the immunity of the diplomat but promised to hold him accountable under its domestic laws, the sources said. After the assurance, Hall was allowed to leave yesterday and apparently flew to Afghanistan initially to go to America, according to sources.

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