Pakistan Prevents US Diplomat From Leaving the Country

Pakistan bars US diplomat from leaving

The diplomat was later released after the Foreign Office (FO) said he enjoys diplomatic immunity.

It was unclear what prompted the moves but the developments come weeks after Pakistan barred a USA diplomat from leaving the country after he killed a Pakistani motorcyclist in Islamabad.

Two US security officials said Saturday that the plane at Nur Khan air base arriving to carry USA military attache Col. Joseph Emanuel Hall out of Pakistan has returned after he failed to get clearance.

A senior Pakistani Intelligence official later told The New York Times that Hall was questioned by police in Islamabad.

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

The development came a day after Islamabad High Court passed a judgement that the U.S. diplomat did not enjoy absolute immunity.

"We are in regular communication with our Pakistani counterparts". Also on Friday, Pakistan placed travel restrictions on United States diplomats based in the country, the latest in a series of retaliatory measures that threaten to plunge already strained relations to their worst level in years.

Sources said that a special aircraft had arrived at the Noor Khan Airbase earlier today to fly back the United States diplomat to Washington but the Federal Investigation Authority (FIA) obtained his passport for clearance.

U.S. -Pakistan relations have worsened since January, when the Trump administration announced it had suspended almost all of the $1.3 billion in annual security aid given to Pakistan.

"This is a development that could well develop into a full-blown crisis for relations if it's not resolved soon", said Michael Kugelman, a South Asia specialist at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington.

Sources said that the USA diplomat wasn't present at the airbase but would reach there after being allowed to leave the country. However, Pakistani immigration officials refused to allow Col Hall from boarding the plane, compelling him to return to the embassy. So far no government official or U.S. Embassy official has offered us the agreement'.