ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Thursday said that United States Military Attache Colonel Joseph Emanuel Hall was allowed to leave Pakistan after assurances that he will be tried in his own country.

Speaking at a weekly news briefing here, Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Mohammed Faisal said Pakistan permitted Hall to fly back home this week as he enjoyed diplomatic immunity.

On May 14, Pakistan allowed Colonel Hall to fly back home after reaching an understanding with Washington. The US diplomat was flown back to his country in a special plane visa Afghanistan.

Hall was briefly arrested on April 7 after running a red light and ramming a motorcycle with his vehicle, killing a Pakistani man and wounding two others. Ateeq Baig, 22, had died on the spot. His cousin, Raheel, suffered a leg fracture and another was wounded. The police had registered a case against the American diplomat at the Kohsar police station on behalf of Baig’s father, Mohammed Idrees.

He, however, had to be released by police as the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, 1961 provided the diplomat immunity from criminal prosecution. The Islamabad High Court had later ruled that Colonel Hall did not have ‘absolute immunity.’ The court had also granted two weeks to the Ministry of Interior to decide over placing his name on the Exit Control List.

Earlier, Pakistan had refused to allow Hall to fly back home in a special plane sent by his country over the weekend. Hall’s family was permitted to leave. But, after reaching an understanding with the victim family, the authorities invoked his diplomatic immunity to let him fly.

Dr Faisal said travel restrictions on US diplomats were now in place. “Diplomats and their families will have to seek prior permission to travel outside the radius of 25 miles,” he said.

Pakistan had last week issued a new travel permission regime for the American diplomats, restricting their movement and revoking undue facilities across the country.

Faisal stressed that Pakistan believed in a two-state solution to the Palestinian dispute in accordance with UN resolutions. The spokesperson noted the entire Muslim world was united over this issue.

He that Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi will depart for Turkey on May 18 (today) to attend a special summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation to discuss recent massacre of innocent Palestinians by Israeli forces.

Pakistan, he said, has noted with grave concern that despite calls by the international community to comply with the UN General Assembly and Security Council resolutions on the two-state solution, US has moved its Embassy to the Holy City of Jerusalem.

Faisal said this represented a violation of international law and several United Nations Security Council resolutions, in particular resolutions 476 and 478.

Pakistan, he said, stood firmly with the Palestinian people also renews the call for establishment of a viable, independent and contiguous State of Palestine, on the basis of internationally agreed parameters, the pre-1967 borders, and with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital.

Pakistan, he said, strongly condemned the merciless killings and injuries to innocent unarmed Palestinian civilian protesters by the occupying authorities.

“The protests are a consequence of the relocation of the United States Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv in opposition to the position of the United Nations and under international law. Pakistan calls on the United Nations and the international community to investigate and bring to end the use of force, which has resulted in causalities of innocent Palestinian civilians, including women, children and the elderly,” he said.

Faisal remarked that India was using the Pakistan card to influence internal politics in the country. “Indian media is active vis-a-vis Pakistan and New Delhi is also trying to divert the attention of the international community from Kashmir,” the spokesperson said.

He referred to a recent incident which highlighted the friction between the two countries and said Pakistan regretted the decision of the Indian government to prevent the daughter of famous poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz from addressing a function in India.

“Pakistan has always tried to tone down Indian aggression and we are not oblivious to the rapid armed build up and induction of destabilising weapon system in our neighbourhood,” he maintained.

He added that Pakistan was committed to a policy of restraint and avoidance of armed race in South Asia, but would take necessary steps to safeguard its interests.

Faisal said Indian Acting Deputy High Commissioner was summoned earlier in the day to condemn the unprovoked ceasefire violations by the Indian forces along the Line of Control on May 15 in Hot spring’s Sector, resulting in the death of one civilian Chaudry Muzaffar.

He said in 2018, the Indian forces carried out more than 1,000 ceasefire violations along the LoC and the Working Boundary, resulting in the death of 24 civilians, and injuries to 107 others.

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“We urge the international community to play its role in calling upon India to account for its crimes against humanity in Kashmir. Like many other public figures and leader of Kashmir, Shabir Shah has been arrested for his non-violent political struggle for the resolution of the Kashmir dispute,” he said. 

On Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s proposed visit to occupied Kashmir, he said, the Joint Resistance Leadership comprising Syed Ali Gilani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammed Yasin Malik have called for a march towards Srinagar’s Lal Chowk Srinagar on May 19.

Faisal said the fourth meeting of Afghanistan Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity was held in Islamabad on May 14. The delegations were led by Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai and Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua.

“In pursuance of the seven principles agreed in the meeting between Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi during his visit to Kabul on April 6, 2018, the two sides finalised the APAPPS. This operationalises the six working groups envisaged under APAPPS,” he added.

Faisal said Pakistan condemned the multiple missile attacks on Jazan and Riyadh by Houthi militia. “The successful interception of the missiles by the Saudi forces prevented loss of innocent lives and is commendable. Pakistan reiterates its solidarity with Saudi leadership and people and stands by Saudi Arabia against any threats to its territorial integrity and threats against Harmain Sharifain (the two holy mosques),” he said.