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Another US diplomat runs over bikers in Islamabad

Another US diplomat runs over bikers in Islamabad
April 30, 2018
ISLAMABAD (92 News) – A US embassy vehicle driven by a diplomat on Monday hit and injured two motorcyclists in Islamabad, the second such accident in three weeks involving an American official. The capital city’s police identified the diplomat as second secretary Chad Rex Ausburn, saying he was instantly detained along with his vehicle and that an investigation into the incident was underway. But police officials expected Ausburn to be released after recording his statement. He was still detained awaiting confirmation of diplomatic immunity. Police report said that the US diplomat, Chad Rex Ausburn, was driving a Toyota Jeep on the Constitution Avenue at Secretariat Chowk, Islamabad when he struck two motorcyclists, who were shifted to hospital immediately. The motorcyclist and another person on the bike received multiple injuries, but doctors at a city hospital said their condition was stable. Police would not say whether Ausburn was to be blamed for the accident. On April 7, the defense attaché at the US embassy, Col. Joseph Emanuel Hall, ran a red light on a main Islamabad road, killing a motorcyclist and seriously injuring another person on the bike. US officials expressed their "deep sympathy to the family of the deceased and those injured," and pledged to fully cooperate with local authorities in the investigation. Hall’s name has since been placed on Pakistan’s “black list,” preventing him from leaving the country pending a court case against him. The two accidents come amid Islamabad’s increased diplomatic tensions with Washington over allegations Pakistan harbors terrorist sanctuaries. Pakistani officials reject these allegations, saying they are baseless. Last week, a senior Department of State official, Alice Wells, visited Islamabad and took up, among other subjects, Hall’s case in meetings with top foreign ministry officials. During the talks, Pakistani officials demanded a waiver of diplomatic immunity so that Hall could be prosecuted. But Wells reportedly refused the demand. The US government also has recently notified Islamabad that Pakistani diplomats will be placed under new travel restrictions starting May 1, underscoring a consistent deterioration in bilateral ties.