News Analysis |
Two Pakistanis including the motorcyclist who was hit by a US embassy official’s car were booked on Monday on multiple charges. Nazakat Islam and his companion were left injured after being hit by US embassy’s Second Secretary, Chad Rex Auburn, near Secretariat Chowk at the Constitution Avenue, on Sunday.
Initially, the diplomat locked himself up in the car but upon police’s arrival, stepped out and identified himself following which he was taken into custody. The Secretariat police also impounded the vehicle and seized the diplomat’s card for verification but the diplomat was handed over to the Foreign Office.
The riders had suffered minor injuries and were discharged after treatment; however, instead of grilling the US official, police booked the motorcyclists. Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) Mohammad Yousuf became a complainant in the First Information Report and stated that the accident happened due to Islam’s negligence and recklessness, charging him with Section 279 which relates to rash driving or riding on a public way.
After Col Joseph’s incident, the Foreign Office had also summoned David Hale, US Ambassador to Pakistan, to register a strong protest, however, the envoy was not summoned this time.
Interestingly, a case was lodged against another Pakistani, Taimoor Pirzada, the chief security officer of the US embassy in Islamabad. According to the FIR, Pirzada misbehaved with police after the accident and attacked Abdul Sattar, the Station House Officer(SHO) who became a complainant and stated that Pirzada tried to bar police from shifting the car and its driver to the station.
Pirzada was presented in Judicial Magistrate’s court on Monday. He was ordered to sign a surety bond worth Rs. 50,000 to get bail. The incident comes on the heels of an accident involving Col Joseph Emanuel Hall, a US diplomat, who ran a red light at the intersection of Margalla Road and 7th Avenue in the first week of April.
Although accident involving Auburn did not lead to any casualty, Col Joseph Emanuel Hall had killed a 22-year-old motorcyclist, Atiq Baig. The handling of both the cases is quite interesting in the regard that the police did not pursue the case filed against the US attaché in the first incident though the US diplomat jumped the lights, however, after Sunday’s accident, police booked the motorcyclists and a Pakistani staffer, instead of investigating the US official.
There seems a madness in the method of police. The issue of Col Joseph was highlighted by media and as the family of the victim had moved Islamabad High Court, the government had to place his name on the blacklist, virtually barring him from leaving the country.
Nazakat Islam and his companion were left injured after being hit by US embassy’s Second Secretary, Chad Rex Auburn, near Secretariat Chowk at the Constitution Avenue, on Sunday.
Moreover, the incident had also inflicted damage on Pak-US ties as the latter had also imposed travel restrictions on Pakistani diplomats as retaliation. In the case of Auburn, the police seem to have changed its policy altogether. Instead of prosecuting the diplomat and to stir a debate over his diplomatic immunity in days to come, the police lodged an FIR against the riders, to get rid of the procedural hassles in future.
After Col Joseph’s incident, the Foreign Office had also summoned David Hale, US Ambassador to Pakistan, to register a strong protest, however, the envoy was not summoned this time. Although Col Joseph’s name has been blacklisted, even then it is widely acknowledged that he enjoys diplomatic immunity and cannot be prosecuted for the killings.
The former Federal Interior Minister, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan had also shown suspicions that Col Joseph might have fled the county. Pakistan’s police, which otherwise opts a stern action against the accused, even bypassing the investigative norms, seem to have paved way for the early return of US diplomat, in the very first step.