Caught on camera: US defence attaché runs red light, kills motorcyclist

Published: April 7, 2018

ISLAMABAD: A US diplomat hit and killed a motorcyclist as he jumped traffic signals in Islamabad on Saturday. Police said Colonel Joseph Emanuel Hall, defence and air attaché at the US Embassy, hit the motorcyclists at a traffic signal at the intersection of Margalla Road and 7th Avenue at around 3pm.

“The traffic signal was red but he broke it and hit the motorcyclists coming from other side,” a senior police officer told The Express Tribune. Police said there were two youngsters on the motorcycle, one of whom died on the spot while the other sustained injuries.

The deceased was identified as Ateeq Baig, 22. He hailed from Talhar village in the Margalla Hills while his father works as a security guard at a govt school in Saidpur village.


The victim’s father in his complaint to the police said his son and nephew were coming from Daman-e-Koh side on their bike when they were hit by a land cruiser coming from F-8 side at Daman-e-Koh chowk on Margalla Road. The complainant said his son and nephew were crossing the intersection on green signal but the land cruiser was jumping the signals when it hit them.

A traffic police official, who was on duty nearby, immediately responded to the accident and informed the local police, who arrived and took the US colonel and his car to the nearby Kohsar Police Station in F-7. Police said Hall was alone in the car at the time.

US reaches out to Pakistan to foster diplomatic ties: sources

At the police station, the US official produced his diplomatic card issued by the Foreign Office as well as his driving licence. Police also contacted the US Embassy which sent its security chief to the police station.

“We have impounded his car and have also kept his diplomatic card and driving licence. We informed the Foreign Office and handed him over to US Embassy officials as per rules,” another officer said.

Police also registered a criminal case against the diplomat late on Saturday night on the complaint of the victim’s families. In the FIR registered at Kohsar Police Station, Hall has been booked for unintentional murder through rash driving.

An officer said police cannot arrest or prosecute him due to his diplomatic immunity. “The case will be dealt with by the US embassy and govt itself,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Foreign Office said they were looking into the incident.

“An accident involving a US Embassy vehicle occurred in Islamabad. Ministry of Foreign Affairs is looking into the matter. Investigations are being carried out,” tweeted FO spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal.

Further, the US embassy in a statement confirmed the incident, saying they are in contact with the local authorities.

In a stark similarity, in February 2013, a Capital Development Authority (CDA) employee died and his companion was injured critically when an over speeding vehicle with US embassy number plate hit their motorcycle.

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Reader Comments (13)

  • Troubled
    Apr 7, 2018 - 9:49PM

    Everyone needs to chill. He should be treated the same way as a Pakistani citizen if they hit someone. Pay a little fine to the cops, and everyone goes their own way. No need to try to make an example just because relations with the US are at a low. Recommend

  • cautious
    Apr 7, 2018 - 11:43PM

    Accelerating for orange light is common – and depending on direction of motorcycle the light was either orange or red for him also. Accidents happen – that’s why they call them accidents. Recommend

  • tuq
    Apr 8, 2018 - 12:37AM

    If the light was orange and not red when he entered the intersection, you can’t really blame him. It would also mean that the motorcycle broke the red light. If he did not try to run and stopped to help, there can’t be much of a case against him anyway. Recommend

  • Junglee
    Apr 8, 2018 - 4:16AM

    Cash and visa for the family.Recommend

  • Khan
    Apr 8, 2018 - 9:05AM

    I wonder what will happen if a diplomat from 3rd world will do such a thing in USA.Recommend

  • BrainBro
    Apr 8, 2018 - 9:12AM

    There isn’t any Salala going on; so this American colonel will most probably fly out to Washington soon.Recommend

  • Tim
    Apr 8, 2018 - 9:21AM

    I wonder what will happen if a diplomat from 3rd world will do same thing in USARecommend

  • Pakistani American
    Apr 8, 2018 - 10:28AM

    I lived in San Jose.

    I entered an intersection on yellow and failed to reach the end of intersection before Red.

    I was fined $500 for crossing RED light.

    Now, if this result in death, I would go to jail … and a BIGGG fine.Recommend

  • Bhatti
    Apr 8, 2018 - 12:46PM

    The bikers did not have their helmets on!! I’m not saying what the diplomat did was right, but at least the bikers would have lived to tell the tale.
    If I’m using the road without any safety, isn’t it my fault that I get injured?
    Again, I’m not saying what the diplomat did was right, but isn’t protecting myself not my responsibility?
    Riding a bike without safety helmet is making a statement that I don’t care for myself, or value my life. Allah maalik hai is out best answer to every safety lapse.Recommend

  • Khan
    Apr 8, 2018 - 7:43PM

    Driving through a red light is a fashion. Everyone does it. Recommend

  • Earl
    Apr 10, 2018 - 7:36PM

    Nah…already started planning his court-martial.Recommend

  • Rooh
    Apr 11, 2018 - 10:28AM

    Its so interesting to read the comments,, which r so Diplomatic.. Our concern should b loss of 1 life.. In Pakistan there are 3 lights reg, green & yellow.. The thing is he broke the signal… So killer on the loose.. No one is suppose to raise a finger on AMERICANS.. Recommend

  • Muhammad Nawaz
    Apr 11, 2018 - 12:40PM

    It is a sad incident. Pakistan is the only country in the world which can’t implement its law on even its own citizens. The American diplomat should not worry as he would pay only $ 23000 to the victim family. I think it is the cheapest price of accidental murder.Recommend

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