Autumn in Pak-US Relations: US Diplomat Stopped From Flying Out After Court Order

May 13, 2018 (DESPARDES/PKONWEB) — Pakistan on Saturday barred a senior US diplomat accused of killing a Pakistani youth and injuring another from leaving the country following a court order, according to officials and local media.

A special C130 plane from Bagram airbase in Afghanistan landed at Nur Khan airbase in Rawalpindi on Saturday morning to carry Col. Joseph Emanuel Hall, the US Defense attache stationed in Islamabad, a senior Interior Ministry official told Anadolu Agency on condition of anonymity.

The plane took off after the Interior Ministry informed Washington Embassy about a high court’s order that bars the diplomat from leaving the country till the disposal of the case against him, the source added.

Hall was stopped at the immigration counter and informed that he could not leave the country, the official said.

The US Embassy officials accompanying the defense attaché contacted the Interior Ministry but they were outrightly told that the diplomat could not fly out of the country unless the court orders otherwise, the official stated.

“We have also informed the US Embassy that he cannot fly out of the country following the court orders,” he further said.

The US Air Force aircraft returned to Bagram at around 4pm.

Richard Snelsire, a spokesman for the US Embassy in Islamabad, refused to deny or confirm the event, saying “we do not want to comment on that”.

In early April, Hall jumped a red light in Islamabad killing a motorcyclist and injuring a passenger.

The Islamabad High Court on Friday ordered the Interior Ministry to put the diplomat’s name on its Exit Control List. Persons on the list are prohibited from leaving Pakistan.

Diplomatic relations between the two sides have hit a low ebb since US President Donald Trump took office in January last year, mainly due to a clash of interests in war-torn Afghanistan.

The two sides also imposed travel restrictions on each others’ diplomats stationed in Washington and Islamabad earlier this week putting further strain on already frosty relations between the two sides.

In August 2017, Trump accused Pakistan of providing safe havens to militants fighting US forces in Afghanistan, a charge Islamabad denied.

Also in February, Pakistan was placed on a terror financing “grey list” by a global money-laundering watchdog, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a move supported by Washington.

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