On the edge of bankruptcy, Pak halts building of Army Hqrs

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Islamabad, Oct 29 : Pakistan, which is desperately fighting to stave itself from impending bankruptcy, has reportedly been forced to halt the construction of lavish new military headquarters in Islamabad.

The Army Headquarters building is to be built at an estimated cost of 475 million pounds by 2012. Its construction had prompted complaints from ordinary Pakistanis because of its huge cost, as its site is on a chunk of prime real estate and also because there is a likelihood of being targeted by militant attacks.

The move is being seen as a "message" by Military Chief General Ashfaq Kayani to President Asif Ali Zardari, who faces calls to bring back millions of dollars that his family allegedly has in foreign bank accounts, reported The Telegraph.

"The army chief has taken this decision in view of the economic situation in the country," the paper quoted chief Pakistani military spokesman Maj Gen Athar Abbas as saying.

Separately, a military statement said that Gen Kayani, who took over from former President Pervez Musharraf as army chief last November, was "cognisant of the financial crunch being faced by Pakistan".

As a key US' war-on-terror ally, Pakistan is in talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to secure up to 3.2 billion pounds and has discussed with the US a loan of 10 billion pounds to avoid defaulting on its foreign debts.

The country's economy has also been hit by skyrocketing inflation, while the stock market and the Pakistani rupee have both collapsed since the start of the year.

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