ISLAMABAD - The Islamabad High Court Monday reserved its verdict in a petition seeking directions to put the name of US Diplomat Colonel Joseph Emmanuel on the Exit Control List for allegedly killing a youngster in a road accident.

Justice Aamer Farooq of the IHC took up the petition and reserved his judgment after hearing arguments of both the sides.

Counsel for the petitioner, Mirza Shahzad, concluded his arguments while a representative of the Foreign Ministry assured the court of implementing its directions in this regard.

Previously, Deputy Attorney General Raja Khalid had informed the IHC bench that the US diplomat involved in the killing of a motorcyclist had been blacklisted, but he could not be arrested because of immunity under the Vienna Convention. However, he added the diplomat had been put on the blacklist, so he could not leave Pakistan.

The DAG had stated the American military attaché was enjoying diplomatic immunity under the Vienna Convention, so he could be tried only if his immunity was withdrawn. The court had also been informed the United States had been contacted on the issue of diplomatic immunity for Col Joseph.

The petition was moved by Muhammad Idrees, the father of deceased Ateeq Baig, through his counsel Mirza Shahzad Akbar advocate, citing Colonel Joseph, the IGP Islamabad, the chief commissioner, the federal government through the prime minister, the secretary interior and the Kohsar SHO as respondents.

The petitioner stated he is the father of deceased Ateeq who was killed by Joseph in a widely reported car accident which took place in Islamabad on April 7. He added Joseph is a citizen of the United Stated of America who is currently employed in Pakistan as air defence attaché at US Embassy in Pakistan and nominated accused in FIR No 168/208 lodged by him.

He continued it is believed he continues to reside in Pakistan, but is trying to flee the country. He added since the accident took place at a signal on Margalla Road where the Safe City Project cameras were functioning during a broad daylight, a vivid video footage of the accident is available. This video footage has been widely shared in the electronic as well as social media.

The petitioner’s counsel Miza Shahzad took the plea in the petition that the video footage clearly shows the petitioner’s son was killed on account of rash driving by Colonel Joseph Emmanuel while the accused also appeared to be heavily intoxicated.

He maintained because the accident took place in the heart of the capital city, traffic police officials reached the site immediately, but, instead of arresting the accused, they allowed him to leave the site when he informed them that he was an employee of the United States Embassy in Islamabad. “It is significant to point out that the police officials did not subject the accused person to a breath test and did not collect his blood or urine sample to ascertain whether he was driving while drunk,” said the petition.

According to the lawyer, till the filing of this petition, the police made no effort whatsoever to conclude investigation of FIR No.168/2018 according to the law and no effort was made to trace and arrest the accused whom the police allowed to escape the site once he informed them that he was an employee of the United States Embassy in Islamabad.

The petitioner said there is a clear and present danger that the accused person who had committed heinous offences in Pakistan is trying to leave the country to avoid police investigation and trial under the laws of the land.

He added despite this clear and present danger, the federal government has not put the accused person on the Exit Control List. He prayed to the court to direct the chief commissioner, the IGP and the SHO to ensure fair and transparent investigation into the allegations contained in FIR No 168/2018 against the accused person and arrest him.

The petitioner further requested the court to direct the federal government and the interior secretary to put the name of the accused on the Exit Control List.