Islamabad, Aug.1 (ANI): Questions are being raised over the motives behind the massive expansion work on the US embassy which is nearing completion in Islamabad.
A former Pakistan diplomat objected to the US' plans to have a bigger presence in Pakistan in the pursuit of its strategic interests in the region.
Former Foreign Secretary Shamshad Ahmed Khan said that it is evident that America wants to 'remote-control' the region from Islamabad.
"The US is eying a long-term presence in the region to protect its interests and Islamabad is an ideal place for that purpose technologically, diplomatically and personnel-wise," Khan said.
According to an estimate, Washington is planning to spend a whopping one billion dollars for revamping its main embassy building in Islamabad and increase the strength of its staff.
The Obama Administration is about to spend 405 million dollars for the reconstruction and refurbishment of the main embassy building and 111 million dollars for constructing a new complex for 330 personnel. A further 197 million dollars would be spent for construction of a housing unit for about 250 personnel.
18 acres of land has already been acquired by the US for the project for a meager one billion rupees, and a Turkish firm has already built a 153-room compound for the embassy, The Dawn reports.
The US is also planning to send about 1000 additional staff to Pakistan, where 750 US officials are already stationed against a sanctioned strength of only 350 personnel.
But what is more worrying for Islamabad is that this surge would also boost the number of marines by over 350.
Not only this, the United States is also planning to give its consular buildings in Lahore and Peshawar a new look.
Experts believe that this is a clear cut strategy of the US to augment its presence and establish a control over the region.
"Clearly these are people who would be coming under cover of diplomatic assignments for covert operations that would be detrimental for Pakistan's security interests," said an expert on conditions of anonymity.
Many believe that with this expansion, the United States is planning to use Pakistan for pushing its policies in the region, similar to what it did in Baghdad. (ANI)