Interior ministry decides against placing US diplomat’s name on ECL

Sophia Siddiqui


Interior ministry on Thursday decided against placing on Exit Control List (ECL) the US Defence and Air Attache Colonel Joseph Emanuel Hall — whose car had rammed into a motorcycle killing a man in Islamabad.
On April 7, the vehicle of Colonel Hall ran a red light and rammed into a motorcycle killing Ateeq Baig on the spot and injuring his cousin. The diplomat was let go by police after registration of a case after the Foreign Office (FO) said he enjoyed diplomatic immunity.
According to information obtained from sources, the decision was taken by the Ministry of Interior after taking into account Colonel Hall’s diplomatic immunity.
The Islamabad police had sent a written request to the interior ministry a few days back seeking the name of the American diplomat on the ECL. The capital police informed the ministry that the diplomat was booked on criminal charges, including murder by mistake or rash or negligent driving.
The presence of the diplomat is necessary for investigation.
The Islamabad High Court (IHC) had observed on April 18 that diplomatic immunity does not permit killing someone. Justice Aamer Farooq gave the remarks while hearing a petition seeking the placement of a US diplomat who fatally ran over a young man in Islamabad earlier this month on the ECL.
In the wake of simmering diplomatic tensions following a fatal traffic accident in Islamabad by the United States military attaché, the Trump administration decided to impose new restrictions on Pakistani diplomats in the US. The US government has reportedly prepared a new code of conduct, according to which the movement of Pakistani diplomatic staff consisting of 200 people would be limited to a 25-mile radius.

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