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Interior ministry ordered to decide inclusion of US diplomat on ECL in 5 days

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday directed the interior ministry’s committee formed to decide inclusion or exclusion of names on the Exit Control List (ECL) to decide within five days a request seeking travel ban for a US diplomat who allegedly killed a motorcyclist in the federal capital.

Justice Aamir Farooq of the IHC directed the interior ministry to submit a compliance report on next hearing on April 24.

The deputy secretary interior informed that the US diplomat’s name has been sent to the committee, which has to make a decision on the matter.

Earlier today, the bench expressed displeasure over the absence of a representative from the interior ministry to submit its response.

The judge observed that no one on behalf of the ministry is present in the court despite its notice.

He asked the deputy attorney general to explain as to why a request pending with the ministry for placing the US diplomat’s name on the Exit Control List (ECL) was not being decided.

The bench adjourned the hearing till 11:00 am and summoned a representative of the ministry to furnish its response.

Twenty-two year old Ateeq Baig was killed after being hit by the vehicle of the US diplomat near Daman-e-Koh Chowk in the federal capital on April 7.

The father of the deceased petitioned the high court, requesting it to impose travel ban on the US defense and air attaché Col Joseph Emanuel Hall.

In his petition, he claimed the police registered a FIR of the incident under pressure from media, but were not seriously following the case. He pleaded with the court to order the police to carry out a fair probe into his son’s death in the road mishap and send the diplomat behind bars.

The accused diplomat, and SHO Kohisar police station have been named as respondents in the petition.

The Islamabad police have already submitted a request to the interior ministry, to add the name of the US diplomat in the ECL.

The request was made in relation to the diplomat’s reckless driving that resulted in killing of the motorcyclist while leaving the other severely injured.

An FIR was registered against defense and air attaché Col Joseph Emanuel Hall of US embassy after he hit two motorcyclists at Daman-e-Koh intersection of Islamabad.

Due to his diplomatic immunity, the Colonel was not detained, but now the police are proceeding to get his local driving license revoked.

The police had sent a letter to the Ministry of Interior requesting them to include Mr. Hall’s name in the Exit Control List (ECL). Followed by a letter to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to place the US diplomat’s name on its watch-list.

“We have requested for including his name on the ECL so that we can arrest him if (and when) his diplomatic immunity is waived,” a police officer said,

He also mentioned that they have requested the Foreign Office to find a way to bypass the diplomat’s immunity. However, this remains highly unlikely that the diplomat’s name would be added on ECL.

The police also stated that the driver in question was not under any influence at the time and that they were not able to take him for a medical examination as then they would have had to detain him which they do not have authorization for.

“Our assessment is that he was sober at the time, as he was maintaining his line and also saved another motorcycle,” they said.

“The traffic signal was red but he broke it, the two youngsters on the motorcycle were hit and one of them died on the spot.”

The US diplomat was initially taken to Kohisar police station in sector F-7. Officials said Col. Hall was alone in his vehicle.

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