ISLAMABAD — Pakistan summoned the American ambassador on Sunday to lodge a formal protest after a road crash involving a U.S. Embassy vehicle killed a Pakistani motorcyclist.
Ambassador David Hale was told that another man riding on the motorcycle was wounded in Saturday’s accident, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement. It said “justice will take its course” in accordance with local and international laws.
Pakistani TV stations have aired footage showing a white vehicle running a red light and striking a motorcyclist, who can be seen flying through the air. The family of the motorcyclist, identified by police as 22-year-old Ateeq Baig, has lodged charges against the U.S. diplomat, saying he ran a red light.
Pakistani police briefly detained the diplomat, but did not arrest him as he enjoys diplomatic immunity. On Sunday, police said they are examining footage of the accident from a surveillance camera. Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal said the diplomat violated traffic laws and that a case has been registered, without providing further details.
The U.S. Embassy issued a statement expressing sympathy for the family of the motorcyclist and for those injured in what it said was a “tragic traffic accident involving a U.S. Embassy vehicle.”
“Embassy officials are cooperating with local authorities who are investigating the accident,” it said.
Police have identified the U.S. diplomat as Col. Joseph Emanuel Hall, a defense attache, saying he was alone in the car at the time of the crash. Police impounded the embassy car as part of the investigation.
In February 2011, a contractor employed by the U.S. Consulate shot and killed two Pakistanis in Lahore, and struck and killed a bicycle rider as he sped from the scene in his vehicle. The incident drew nationwide condemnation and strained ties between Washington and Islamabad.
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Source: The Washington Post