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Pakistan Bars U.S. Diplomat From Leaving Country


Pakistani protesters in Islamabad stage an April 10 rally demanding a trial for U.S. diplomat involved in a road accident that killed a person.

Pakistan has barred a U.S. diplomat involved in a fatal road accident from leaving the country, security officials and local media said on May 12.

The move came a day after a court in Islamabad ruled that diplomatic immunity may not apply in the April 7 accident that killed a 22-year-old motorcyclist in the capital, Pakistan's The Nation and Express Tribune newspapers reported.

The Associated Press cited two unidentified security officials as saying on May 12 that a plane arriving in Pakistan to take U.S. military attache Colonel Joseph Emanuel Hall out of the country had returned after he was unable to secure clearance.

AP said the officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media on the matter.

Hall is accused of running a red light and killing the motorcyclist, Ateeq Baig, on April 7.

The U.S. Embassy in Islamabad declined to comment on the matter, and a U.S. State Department spokesperson in Washington declined to confirm or deny the reports.

"For the privacy and security of those involved, we cannot disclose the diplomat's current location," Reuters quoted the spokesperson as saying.

Pakistan's Foreign Office last month summoned the U.S. ambassador to lodge a “strong protest" after the deadly accident involving a U.S. Embassy vehicle.

The U.S. Embassy expressed "deep sympathy" for the family of the dead man and for another person who was injured in the accident, and said that it was cooperating with Pakistani investigators.

Based on reporting by AP, Reuters, AFP, and the Washington Post

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