ISLAMABAD - The federal government Tuesday informed the Islamabad High Court that US diplomat involved in killing of a motorcyclist had been blacklisted.

Deputy Attorney General (DAG) Raja Khalid told this to the court of Justice Aamer Farooq during the hearing in a petition seeking court’s directions to put the name of US diplomat Colonel Joseph Emmanuel on the Exit Control List (ECL) as he is allegedly involved in killing of a youngster in a road accident.

During the hearing, the DAG informed the IHC bench that the US Diplomat could not be arrested as he enjoys immunity under the Vienna Convention. However, he added, the diplomat has been put on the blacklist and thus cannot leave Pakistan.

He stated before the bench that placing the diplomat’s name on the ECL is a very lengthy process. He added that at present the US diplomat can neither be arrested nor can his trial be taken place in the country.

The DAG added that the Vienna Convention gives diplomatic immunity to the American military attaché, so he can be tried only if his immunity is withdrawn.

The court was also informed that the United States has been contacted on the issue of diplomatic immunity for Col Hall.

Then, the IHC bench asked the federal law officer to explain whether Colonel Joseph will be tried or punished under the Pakistani or US laws.

Moreover, the judge asked for an explanation regarding the Vienna Convention and diplomatic relations.

Later, Justice Aamer directed the foreign ministry to submit its reply to the court’s questions regarding the issue of immunity and placement of the diplomat’s name on the ECL and deferred hearing for ten days in this matter.

The petition was moved by Muhammad Idrees father of deceased Ateeq Baig through his counsel Mirza Shahzad Akbar Advocate and cited Colonel Joseph, Inspector General (IG) Islamabad Police, Chief Commissioner, federal government through Prime Minister, Secretary Interior and SHO police station Kohsar as respondents.

The petitioner stated that 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 that 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 the complainant.

He continued that till filing of this case it is believed that he continues to reside in Pakistan but is busy trying to flee the country.

He added that since the accident took place at a signal on Margalla Road where the Safe City Project cameras are functioning and since it happened during broad daylight vivid video footage of the accident is available.

This video footage has been widely shared in the electronic media and social media.

Petitioner’s counsel Mirza Shahzad adopted in the petition that the video footage clearly shows that the petitioner’s son was killed on account of rash driving by Colonel Joseph Emmanuel while according to by-standers, the accused also appeared to be heavily intoxicated.

He maintained that because the accident took place in heart of the capital city, Traffic Police Officials reached the site immediately and recognised that the evidence showed that the accused is guilty of cognizable offences. However, instead of arresting the accused, they allowed him to leave the site once 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” or made any effort to collect his blood sample or urine sample which would provide conclusive evidence about whether he was driving while drunk,” said the petition.

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

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

He added that despite this clear and present danger, the federal government has not put the accused person on the Exit Control List.

Therefore, he prayed to the court to direct SHO, IG and Chief Commissioner to ensure that fair and transparent investigation is conducted with regard to the allegations contained in FIR No. 168/2018 against the accused person and to arrest the accused person unless they are satisfied, for reasons to be recorded, that such arrest is not necessary to secure the ends of justice.

He also requested the court to direct them to complete the investigation of this case at the earliest and submit police report under Section 173 CrPC (challan) before competent court at the earliest and conduct disciplinary proceedings against those police officials who were responsible for the illegalities alleged in this Petition.

The petitioner further requested the court to direct federal government and secretary interior to ensure that name of the accused is put on the Exit Control List and remains on it till the conclusion of the case against him.

He pleaded the court to direct Chief Commissioner to submit a report to this court regarding the investigation and fate of similar incidents involving the death of Pakistani citizens by rash driving of foreign diplomats in Islamabad.