Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Ruling on petition seeking travel ban for US diplomat reserved

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ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday reserved its verdict on a petition seeking inclusion of the name of a US diplomat who allegedly killed a motorcyclist in a road accident in Islamabad, in the Exit Control List (ECL).

A bench, comprising Justice Amir Farooq, reserved the verdict after hearing arguments from the petitioner’s lawyer and a state counsel.

The judge asked the lawyers to spell out mechanism for punishment of a diplomat in such cases and observed that it is not possible that the one who commits a crime is let off the hook.

Advocate Mirza Shehzad submitted that if the US authorities permit, the diplomat can be tried in Pakistan. However, he can also stand trial in his own country.

At previous hearing, the Ministry of Interior submitted a report to the bench in response to its notice, stating that Col. Joseph has been blacklisted in a case pertaining to the death of 22-year-old Ateeq Baig.

To a query, state counsel Raja Khalid informed that the US diplomat cannot travel after being blacklisted. Travel restrictions for a person placed on the ECL or blacklisted are similar, he added.

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 attache 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.

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