US diplomat kills two Pakistanis in Lahore

An American diplomat in the Pakistani city of Lahore has shot and killed a Pakistani motorcycle rider and his pillion passenger, police say. Police told the AFP news agency that the American fired his pistol in self-defence. US embassy officials confirmed that an American was involved. Police say that the men were pursuing the American in his car. A pedestrian was also killed by a speeding car from the US consulate which came to help, police say. Police told the Reuters news agency that they were investigating whether the two men on the motorcycle were robbers. Weapons had been recovered from the bodies of the dead men, police said. Local TV showed footage of what it said was the American official’s car. It had several bulletholes in the windscreen.

The American had stopped at a traffic light when two men riding a motorcycle stopped near his car, police say. “The man told us he pulled out his pistol in self-defence,” Lahore police chief Aslam Tarin told AFP news agency. Police officer Umar Saeed said that the American was being held in custody. Officials at the US embassy in Islamabad say they are still investigating what happened and cannot comment further at this stage. Mr Saeed said that the officials used a wireless radio to call colleagues for help immediately after the shooting – and a second consular car turned up to rescue him. “Dozens of people gathered after the incident and tried to stop both the vehicles. Drivers of both the vehicles tried to flee the scene but police managed to stop them,” he told AFP. More than 100 people blocked the road after the incident by setting tyres on fire to protest against the killing. The protest later moved to picket the police station where the car involved in the incident was impounded. The BBC’s Syed Shoaib Hasan in Pakistan says that the incident, if confirmed, may add to anti-American sentiment in Pakistan. Our correspondent says questions are certain to be asked as to why the American was carrying arms and why, if he was a diplomat, he was not provided with armed protection. – BBC