Home Global Village US officials confirm travel restriction on Pakistani diplomats

US officials confirm travel restriction on Pakistani diplomats

The escalating tensions after a U.S diplomat killed a young Pakistani man have driven both the countries, U.S and Pakistan, to impose travel restrictions on diplomats.

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News Analysis |

United States of America (US) has announced to restrict the free movements of Pakistani diplomats. According to the new restrictive measures, Pakistani diplomats at their embassy in Washington and at consulates in other cities cannot move freely within the US without seeking the permission from State Department. Which means Pakistani diplomats will be forced to stay within the 40 km of the city unless permitted to move outside the area.

Moreover, the diplomatic staff would need permission at least five days before traveling outside the radius of 40 km. In an interview with Voice of America’s Uzbek service, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Thomas Shannon confirmed the development and said that this restriction is retaliation to the same embargo Islamabad had placed on US diplomats in Pakistan.

Pakistan’s Government must treat all human beings on an equal basis in the country, according to country’s constitution and should not value the diplomat from the foreign country more than the blood of an ordinary Pakistani.

This restriction will be applicable from May 1. Washington has reportedly notified Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Islamabad, and Pakistan Embassy in Washington.  Though, initially, reports emerged that the restriction only comes into effect, if certain issues will remain unresolved between the countries. Shannon played down the development and regarded such steps as a routine matter. There is nothing new in this, he asserted.

Pakistan and the U.S. have indulged in a diplomatic dispute over the killing of AteeqMir when the vehicle of US Defense and Air Attaché Colonel Joseph Emanuel Hall broke the red traffic signal and rammed into a motorcycle of the deceased. Ateeq Mir died on the spot, while; the other young man Raheel Ahmed was injured critically.

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Though, both the sides had denied the reports of dispute, but, tensions were brewing amid the row over the diplomatic immunity of the culprit. The diplomat was allowed to go after the interference from the Foreign Office (FO) citing that he enjoys diplomatic immunity.

Later, US diplomat attempted to flee Pakistan on Middle-East bound Qatar Airways flight, but, left the scene after seeing Islamabad police officials. Interior Ministry was aware of his plans and had alerted the police. To restrict such plans, Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has made certain arrangements to stop him flee.

In an interview with Voice of America’s Uzbek service, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Thomas Shannon confirmed the development and said that this restriction is retaliation to the same embargo Islamabad had placed on US diplomats in Pakistan.

A petition was also filed in Islamabad High Court (IHC) seeking directive for the federal government to put the name of Colonel Joseph Emmanuel on Exit Control List (ECL). The petitioner M. Idrees is the father of the deceased.

Capital police have written a letter to interior ministry requesting to put his name on ECL. In court, interior ministry confirmed the development and told the IHC on Wednesday (today) that commissioner office has requested the ministry to place his name on ECL. The court ruled that the committee formed over the issue should decide the matter in five days.

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Pakistan has decided not to let off Defense and Air Attaché Joseph Emanuel Hall.  Pakistan summoned the US ambassador and lodged a protest on the incident. The First Investigation Report (FIR) has been registered based on the initial probe on the matter from eyewitnesses and injured.

Diplomatic immunity doesn’t Permit Killing Someone: Islamabad High Court

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) observed on Wednesday 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 Exit Control List (ECL).

The judge remarked that an alcohol test is the first thing to do in hit-and-run cases but the police, in this case, failed to follow procedure probably since they “trembled seeing a foreigner”. Justice Farooq then observed that the police itself damaged the case by not conducting an alcohol test.

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So far Pakistan has shown some resistance and the signal suggests that Pakistan is in no mood to let this become another Raymond Davis case.

U.S. may be seeking to pressurize Pakistan by imposing such restrictions on its staff in the U.S. Pakistani authorities must not compromise the investigations of this blatant crime. Pakistan’s Government must treat all human beings on an equal basis in the country, according to country’s constitution and should not value the diplomat from the foreign country more than the blood of an ordinary Pakistani.

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