Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for Pakistan

Newsline: India court jails ex-diplomat for spying for Pakistan

An Indian diplomat convicted of passing state secrets to Pakistan’s intelligence services has been jailed for three years, her lawyer said on Sunday. Madhuri Gupta was found guilty in a New Delhi court on Friday of “spying and wrongful communication of information” while posted to the Indian embassy in Islamabad. Gupta, 61, was arrested in 2010 for allegedly passing information to the spy agency. The low-level diplomat was detained for alleged breaches of India’s official secrets act and held for two years before being released on bail. Her lawyer, Joginder Dahiya, said Gupta would appeal her sentencing in a higher court.



Newsline: Diplomat to face legal action in US after road accident in Pakistan

The United States has assured Pakistan that it will initiate criminal proceedings against its defense attaché, who was involved in a road accident in which a young Pakistani was killed in the federal capital. Pakistan has allowed Col Joseph Emmanuel Hall to leave the country quietly on Monday, prompting strong reaction from the opposition, which wanted him to be tried in local courts. The Foreign Office for the first time gave Pakistan’s official reaction on the issue. “Let me explain it. It is not that way. Diplomats enjoy immunity while serving in the country of their accreditation. In this context, Col Joseph was allowed to leave the country based on this diplomatic immunity,” Spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal told reporters. “The US has assured us that it will initiate criminal/administrative action against Col Joseph in US courts,” he added. Pakistan initially resisted the US demand to allow Col Joseph to leave the country as his name was placed on the ‘black list’, meaning he could not be allowed to travel without seeking prior permission from the local authorities. Islamabad had demanded from Washington to withdraw the diplomatic immunity being enjoyed by the defense attaché so that he could be tried in Pakistan. However, the US turned down the request but agreed to proceed against Col Joseph back in the states. After assurance, Pakistan finally allowed him to leave the country. There were reports that the US embassy also reached some settlement with the victim’s families.


Newsline: US diplomat involved in accident allowed to leave Pakistan

A U.S. diplomat who was allegedly involved in a traffic crash that killed a motorcyclist has left Pakistan, a U.S. State Department spokesman said Monday, two days after the diplomat reportedly was stopped from leaving the South Asian country. “We can confirm that the American diplomat who was involved in a tragic car accident on April 7 in Islamabad has departed Pakistan,” the spokesman said in an email to Reuters. The spokesman did not identify the U.S. diplomat and provided no further details . Pakistani newspapers reported that the American, identified as a military attache, was blocked Saturday from leaving Pakistan, forcing the U.S. military aircraft sent on his behalf to depart without him.


Newsline: Pakistan Prevents US Diplomat From Leaving the Country

The authorities in Pakistan barred an American diplomat involved in a fatal traffic accident from leaving the country on Saturday and briefly detained him for questioning, according to a senior Pakistani intelligence official. A United States military aircraft flown in to bring home Col. Joseph Emanuel Hall, a U.S. military attaché, had to leave without him, the intelligence official said. Pakistan’s Interior Ministry said Mr. Joseph is on a “blacklist” and is not allowed to leave because of the criminal case pending against him. Colonel Hall is accused of involvement in a road accident in which his car ran a red light and killed a motorcyclist named Ateeq Baig in the capital, Islamabad, on April 7. Pakistan officials have demanded the United States waive his diplomatic immunity so that he can face a criminal trial, but American officials have refused.

Newsline: US Embassy Officer in Pakistan Is Charged With Obstruction

The police in Pakistan have charged a United States Embassy security officer with seeking to obstruct an investigation into a car accident involving an embassy vehicle, police officials said on Monday, adding to diplomatic tensions days after an American military attaché was barred from leaving the country over a separate collision. The arrest was made after an American diplomat’s Toyota hit and injured two people on a motorcycle in Islamabad on Sunday evening, the police said. The injured people were hospitalized, and the diplomat, identified as Second Secretary Chad Rex Ausburn, was briefly detained before being released after the Foreign Ministry confirmed his diplomatic credentials. But the police said that Taimur Iqbal Pirzada, a security adviser for the American Embassy, sought to obstruct an investigation of the accident and to stop officers from taking the diplomat and his vehicle to a police station. Mr. Pirzada was charged with obstruction and with using assault or criminal force to deter a public servant from carrying out duties. He was released on bail on Monday after appearing in court. The Islamabad police also registered a case of reckless driving against the motorcycle driver, Nazakat Aslam, on Monday. A spokesman for the American Embassy in Islamabad was not available for comment. The accident over the weekend follows an episode this month that drew attention on social media as well as street protests. Pakistani officials say the American Embassy’s military attaché, Col. Joseph E. Hall, ran through a red light in an upscale Islamabad neighborhood on April 7, crashing into a motorcycle and killing a passenger. As a result, Colonel Hall has been barred from leaving Pakistan, and officials have demanded that the United States waive his diplomatic immunity so that he can face a criminal trial. American officials have refused. In 2011, a C.I.A. security officer, Raymond A. Davis, shot and killed two armed men in the eastern city of Lahore, causing a countrywide outrage. Mr. Davis was freed after the families of the victims received financial compensation.

Newsline: Pakistan bars US diplomat from travel over fatal crash

An American diplomat who struck a Pakistani motorcyclist in a fatal road accident earlier this month has been barred from leaving the country, pending a civil court case, Pakistani officials said. The U.S. military attaché, Col. Joseph Emanuel Hall, is accused of running a red light and killing Ateeq Baig on April 7. Hall enjoys diplomatic immunity, so he cannot be arrested or tried. But the two Pakistani officials said Baig’s family has filed a civil case against him, hoping for compensation. They said Hall’s name was added to a “black list” by the government this month. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to reporters. The U.S. embassy said it was in touch with Pakistan about the travel restrictions, without elaborating. Officials refused to disclose Hall’s location for safety and security reasons. However, Pakistani official say he has not left the country. The embassy has previously expressed condolences to Baig’s family, which this month rallied in Islamabad, demanding justice.


Newsline: US faces $1m blood money demand in Pakistan over killer diplomat

The family of a Pakistani man killed in a crash with a US defence attaché who went through a red light could demand up to $1 million in blood money. Police are trying to block Colonel Joseph Hall, who works at the US embassy, from fleeing Pakistan after his 4×4 hit a motorbike carrying two men in Islamabad. Ateeq Baig, 22, died at the scene and his cousin, Raheel Ahmed, is in a critical condition.