US Defence Attache runs down 3 in Pak, relations set to sour

Islamabad: A United States Defence Attache has run down three persons in Daman-e-Koh, north of Islamabad, ratcheting up the ongoing visa/diplomatic rift between the two countries.

Colonel Joseph Emanuel Hall, Defence and Air attache at the US Embassy, was reportedly sloshed while driving the white Land Cruiser that hit three motorcyclists at a traffic signal.

One of the riders was dead, while the other two were critically wounded, who were taken to the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS).

The US official was not arrested owing to his diplomatic immunity, however, the police took custody of the vehicle.

The US Embassy officials are following the case with the Islamabad Police.

However, unlike American intelligence operative Raymond Davis, who, in 2011, was arrested in Lahore on charges of killing two Pakistani citizens, stirring up a massive diplomatic rift with Islamabad, Hall is not in police custody and is back on the embassy compound.

The incident will likely be used as a leverage in the ongoing visa/diplomatic rift. Given that Hall happens to be a military attache, odds are that it will have implications on the military relations as well.

Earlier, the US State department conveyed to the Pakistan Embassy in Washington DC that if it does not ease the travel of the US diplomats, reciprocal restrictions will be imposed on the Pakistan diplomats in the US from May 1, including restrictions on travel beyond 50 miles of the city of posting.