ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistan on Sunday summoned the U.S. ambassador to protest a fatal traffic accident involving an American diplomatic vehicle in the capital, Islamabad, and an embassy statement said it was cooperating in the investigation.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement it had called in U.S. Ambassador David Hale to lodge a complaint over “the tragic death of the motorcyclist and serious injury to the co-rider in the traffic accident yesterday that involved a U.S. diplomat”.
Few details about the accident were available and there was no word of any charges being filed. Local station Geo TV said the vehicle had collided with the motorcycle on Saturday and police had seized the embassy vehicle.
Pakistan said “justice will take its course in accordance with the law of the land and the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations 1961”, indicating it recognises the U.S. official’s diplomatic immunity.
The U.S. Embassy released a statement on Sunday expressing “deep sympathy to the family of the deceased and those injured in a tragic traffic accident involving a U.S. Embassy vehicle”.
It said embassy officials were cooperating with local authorities investigating the accident.
The accident comes seven years after U.S.-Pakistan relations were severely strained when a CIA contractor based in the Pakistani city of Lahore shot and killed two men on a motorcycle in what he described as an attempted robbery on his vehicle.
Pakistan rejected a U.S. claim of diplomatic immunity for the contractor, Raymond Davis, and a court charged him with murder, but he was later acquitted and released after the families of the dead man said they forgave him after receiving unspecified compensation.
Writing by Kay Johnson, editing by Larry King