US diplomat accident: College student laid to rest

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ISLAMABAD: The college student, who was killed Saturday when a vehicle of US diplomat hit his motorcycle, was laid to rest today.

Police officials said the US military attaché, Colonel Joseph Emmanuel, was driving the SUV that hit the motorcycle. Twenty-two-year-old Ateeq Baig died on the spot. His cousin, Raheel, suffered a leg fracture.

The police registered a case against the American diplomat at the Kohsar police station on behalf of Baig’s father, Muhammad Idrees. Emmanuel was not arrested due to diplomatic immunity. His vehicle, however, was taken into custody.

Idrees told the police that the US diplomat violated a red signal when he was passing by Margalla Road in F8 sector. The accident was also caught on camera. “I request the government to provide us justice,” he said while talking to SAMAA.

Raheel corroborated Idrees’ account. “I tried to get off our motorcycle as I had seen him violating the traffic light, but I couldn’t,” he said.

Investigations have been handed over to the Punjab police’s homicide unit.

On the other hand, the Foreign Office issued a statement. Spokesperson Muhammad Faisal tweeted: “An accident involving a US embassy vehicle occurred in Islamabad. MOFA is looking into the matter. Investigations are being carried out.”

A spokesperson of the US Embassy also said they were aware of the incident and were cooperating with Pakistani officials in the investigations.

No respect for Pakistan law?

This case has renewed references to another one involving an American in Pakistan. On January 27, 2011, Raymond Davis, a CIA contractor, shot two men in Lahore. A car coming to rescue Davis killed a third man, Ibadur Rahman, in a hit-and-run while speeding on the wrong side of the road.

Davis’ arrest severely strained relations between the US and Pakistan government. In Pakistan, it raised anti-American emotion to an all-time high. The CIA contractor was released on March 16 that year after the families of the two deceased men “pardoned” him after receiving blood money. Judges then acquitted him on all charges and Davis immediately returned to the United States.

A more recent case is of Chinese engineers attacked policemen deployed for their security this Wednesday.

Police officials said the Chinese engineers and other officials wanted to leave their camp in Khanewal and visit a “red-light” area Tuesday night. They resorted to agitation when denied permission to leave the camp without being accompanied by security officials.

Chinese nationals have attacked local police in Pakistan in 2016 as well. They clashed with the police when the Chinese nationals insisted on staying at a construction camp at night and the former opposed the idea due to security reasons.

Strict security measures are in place for Chinese nationals working in Pakistan. Last year, Daesh claimed responsibility for kidnapping and killing two Chinese nationals in Balochistan.

Waiving immunity

Is there a precedent for waiving immunity of a diplomat?

Gueorgui Makharadze, the Georgian Embassy official who killed a teenage girl in a drunk-driving crash in Washington, was sentenced to prison in 1997. According to a report published in the Washington Post, the Georgia government waived immunity for its deputy ambassador to US after the mother of the deceased girl campaigned for justice.

Story first published: 8th April 2018

Originally Posted on SamaaNews

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