ISLAMABAD - Joseph Emanuel Hall, the defence and air attaché at the US embassy, - accused of hitting and killing a motorcyclist in the capital – is still in Islamabad and the US embassy has promised full cooperation in the investigation, Minister for Foreign Affairs Khawaja Asif told the National Assembly on Wednesday.

Answering queries of the parliamentarians during the question hour, the minister said that the case was under investigation and action would be taken in accordance with the law.

Asif was referring to the incident that took place on Saturday, when a US diplomat, while driving his SUV jumped a traffic signal and hit the motorcyclists, Ateeq and Raheel at the intersection of Margalla Road and the 7th Avenue.

An FIR was registered on the complaint of the victim's father under sections 320, 337, 279 and 427 at Kohsar Police Station, stating that the incident happened due to the negligence of the US diplomat.

The tragic, on the spot death of the motorcyclist not only caught immediate attention of the international media but it became instantly viral on the social media too - after the CCTV footage of the accident was uploaded on the internet, and after reports that the accused was set free, due to his diplomatic immunity.

Police termed it third road accident in recent years, in which a US diplomat hit and killed citizens in Islamabad, and got away due to diplomatic immunity.

The rumours of alleged misbehaviour of the diplomat and reported apprehensions from unnamed security sources that the diplomat may be whisked out of the country further aggravated the situation.

The same resentment, shown on social media was also felt in the parliament where lawmakers asked about the investigations, and why the accused was set free, even after committing a crime such as murder.

While responding to a comparison drawn by a Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf member quoting the incident of Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s detailed security check recently at a US airport, the minister clarified that the prime minister’s recent visit to the US was private and he did not seek official protocol.

Answering another question by Dr Shazia Sobia Aslam, Asif said five Pakistani nationals were detained at the Guantanamo Bay.

He said one of them was co-accused in the trial related to 9/11 incident and another pleaded guilty to conspiracy and murder, while the remaining three had not been charged of any crime yet.

Pakistani mission is in contact with the State Department’s special envoy for Guantanamo Bay closure and regularly seeks status of these five Pakistani nationals detained at the detention facility, Asif told the house.

He said that the mission in Washington had also been coordinating with the US State Department -after consultation with this ministry as well as the National Crisis Management Cell, the FIA and the Ministry of Interior, to discuss legal options for repatriation of Pakistani nationals from Guantanamo Bay prison.

Answering another query, Asif said that the Pakistani embassy officials in Kabul visited Bagram detention facility on 14th February, 2018, and found around 211 Pakistani prisoners there under various charges including terrorism, spying, illegal border crossing and travel without documents.

He said Pakistani officials were not allowed to meet the detainees in person, but in three groups of 25 detainees each.

Asif said the Afghan government was reticent on providing consular access to Pakistani missions.

He said that a total of Pakistani prisoners in China, who fell in jurisdiction of embassy or consulate, are 484.

Answering a question from MNA Abdul Qahar Khan Wadan, the minister for foreign affairs said the number of Pakistanis travelling abroad had increased manifold, during the recent years and at present as many as 8,524,366 Pakistanis were residing abroad.

He said that the number of Pakistani migrants and refugees travelling along the central and eastern Mediterranean routes had been increasing since 2016, and majority of such people were from the Punjab followed by the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and the Islamabad Capital Territory.

He said that Pakistan had a neutral role when it came to the Syrian conflict and sought resolution of the issue through dialogue.

The minister said it was true that India had been trying to bring demographic changes to institute Hindu domination in the Indian-occupied Kashmir and his ministry had taken appropriate steps to address the issue.