Fraying ties between once-close allies saw a few more threads snap this weekend after what appeared to be a failed American rescue mission aimed at airlifting Col Joseph Emanuel Hall, a defence attaché at the US Embassy in Islamabad.
Local media showed footage of a USA plane at Nur Khan airbase in Rawalpindi near Islamabad that reportedly arrived earlier today to fly back defence and air attache Colonel Joseph Emanuel Hall.
The development came a day after the Islamabad high court passed a judgement that the U.S. diplomat did not enjoy absolute immunity.
The diplomatic tiff between the United States (US) and Pakistan is brewing up like coffee, gradual-yet-strong and perhaps tad bitter.
However, hardline elements in Pakistan are insisting that he be prosecuted in Pakistan.
United Airforce C130 airplane at Nur Khan Airbase Rawalpindi on Saturday to carry Military Attache Col Joseph Emanuel Hall returned without the diplomat as the Interior Ministry refused to issue him NOC, sources informed Geo News.More news: North Korea to finish dismantling nuclear test site 'within two weeks'
"We are in regular communication with our Pakistani counterparts". US Embassy has also reportedly handed over passport of the diplomat to FIA immigration officials.
The report said that on Friday, Islamabad's High Court, noting that Hall did not have full diplomatic immunity, left it up to the government to decide whether to add his name to a travel ban list. The effort seems to be to keep him in Pakistan till that time.
The latest move is likely to further strain ties between the two countries. Earlier in the week, Islamabad made a song and dance about the UN Al-Qaida/ISIL Sanctions Committee not approving Pakistan's proposal to list Umer Khalid Khorasani, aka Abdul Wali, the leader of Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, ostensibly because of USA objection, although Pakistan itself continues to shield terrorists such as Hafiz Saeed and Masood Azhar.
On April 7, Col Hall killed a youth and injured the pillion rider as he jumped the traffic signal at the intersection of Margalla Road and 7 Avenue in the federal capital.
"Since Joseph is understood to have diplomatic immunity, Pakistan's refusal to let him leave the country will be seen by Washington as a wholly unjustifiable and illegal act".