Pakistan police seek travel ban on US diplomat who killed biker

US embassy in a statement confirmed fatal accident, saying they are in contact with the local authorities

Islamabad: Police in Pakistan’s capital on Monday asked the interior ministry to add to the country’s Exit Control List (ECL) the name of a US diplomat involved in a crash that killed one person.

At least one media report claimed the diplomat’s name had already been put on the ECL.

Officials were fearing that US Defence and Air Attaché Colonel Joseph Emanuel may soon leave the country, police reportedly said in a letter to the interior ministry.

The accident occurred on April 7 near Daman-e-Koh Chowk in Islamabad when a fast-moving SUV driven by Col Joseph Emanuel Hall crossed a red light and struck a motorcycle, killing Atiq Baig and injuring his cousin Raheel Ahmad.

Police officers said when they reached the site the person in the car introduced himself as Colonel Joseph Emanuel.

Following the incident, officials said they took Emanuel and his car to the police station and he was eventually handed over to US embassy officials after formalities.

In a statement issued earlier, Islamabad police said they could not arrest Emanuel as the Vienna convention provided him immunity.

According to Article 29 of Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, 1961, the person of a diplomatic agent shall be inviolable.

“He shall not be liable to any form of arrest or detention. The receiving state shall treat him with due respect and shall take all appropriate steps to prevent any attack on his person, freedom or dignity.”

Nevertheless, a police investigation is under way as case was registered against the diplomat under Sections 279 (Rash driving or riding on a public way), 320 (Punishment for manslaughter by rash or negligent driving), 337-G (Punishment for hurt by rash or negligent driving) and 427 (Mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees) of the Pakistan Penal Code.

Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal expressed grief over the death of the young man. In a message posted on Twitter, Ahsan Iqbal said it was very tragic that a road incident involving a US diplomat, in which traffic law was clearly violated, resulted in the death of a Pakistani citizen.

Pakistani authorities said they were in contact with the accident victim, Atiq Baig’s family and would provide them with justice at all costs.

Meanwhile, the Foreign Office said they were looking into the incident.

“Foreign Ministry [is] closely following investigation into the road accident involving a US diplomat which led to the tragic death of a Pakistani citizen in Islamabad” tweeted FO spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal.

The Foreign Office on Sunday summoned US Ambassador to Pakistan David Hale to register “a strong protest” on the tragic death of the motorcyclist.

Furthermore, the US embassy in a statement confirmed the incident, saying they are in contact with the local authorities.

The embassy also expressed “deep sympathy to the family of the deceased and those injured in a tragic traffic accident involving a US Embassy vehicle on Saturday, April 7.”

This is the fourth road accident in recent years in which US diplomats have struck and killed people in Islamabad, the capital city police said, adding that they got away with it because they had diplomatic immunity.

1. In July 2010, a US embassy officer attached to the embassy’s Force Protection Department, hit and killed a young man driving a motorcycle on the 7th Avenue.

2. In November 2010, a member of the US Regional Affairs Office hit another embassy’s vehicle causing damage to both vehicles in Islamabad.

3. In February 2013, an administrative assistant at the US embassy hit two motorcyclists with his Land Cruiser near Kohsar Complex at Margalla Avenue, killing one man and injuring other.

4. In April 2018, US Defence Attache violated the traffic law resulting in the death of one man and injuring another.


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