Col Joseph Emanuel Hall has left Pakistan.
This is a change from Saturday, when he was blocked from getting on a plane to exit Pakistan.
In case you missed why this is a story, on April 7, the Col jumped a red light at Islamabad’s Daman-e-Koh Chowk and struck a motorcycle, injuring two men, one of whom eventually died.
Col Joseph was let go by the Islamabad police because of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, which grants diplomatic immunity from criminal prosecution to diplomats.
The initial resistance to Col Joseph being allowed to leave could also have something to do with the US State Department announced recently that Pakistani diplomats would only be allowed to travel within a restricted radius of Washington, DC and there has been talk of the United States cutting off financial aid to Pakistan.
The attempt to keep Colonel Joseph seems to have largely been a retaliatory measure by Pakistani officials.
And that is the exact reason why Col Joseph being allowed to leave was precisely the correct course of action.
Diplomatic immunity exists for a very specific reason: Because we want to prevent countries finding ways to punish diplomats as a means of exacting revenge against other governments.
Col Joseph should and will face action in an international court.
However, the idea of having a U.S. diplomat face a trial in Pakistan while the United States and Pakistan are having issues is far too rife with potential to turn into the exact scenario the Vienna Convention was meant to prevent.
I hope the United States and Pakistan can get back on the same page. I believe it would be beneficial for both countries.
But until then, I am glad the Col is out of Pakistan so that he cannot be potentially used as a pawn against the United States government.
Whatever you think of him, he deserves better than that. The Col deserves a real chance and a fair trial.
And he is much more likely to get that now than he would have been if he had not been allowed to leave Pakistan.