Pak rejects reports regarding US Marines

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Islamabad, Aug.21 (ANI): Pakistan has rejected media reports regarding US' plans to send more Marines to its Islamabad embassy.

Speaking at a weekly briefing, Foreign Office Spokesman Abdul Basit said US has not yet formally asked for expanding its embassy compound or deploying additional security staff.

"We haven't yet received any formal request as to how many additional personnel they want to position in their embassy in Islamabad and in their consulates in Karachi and other cities," he said.

Basit said if any such request is received, it would be considered in accordance with the growing relationship between both countries and the enhanced security requirement amid the present condition.

"There was no upper ceiling between the Pakistan and US regarding the deployment of security personnel because it all hinged on the requirements of any particular circumstance," The Daily Times quoted Basit, as saying.

According to media reports, 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.

Eighteen acres of land has already been acquired by the US for the project for a one billion rupees, and a Turkish firm has already built a 153-room compound for the embassy.

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.

Meanwhile, US Ambassador Anne Patterson has also rejected reports about deployment of US Marines in Islamabad, terming them as 'baseless'.

Patterson said there were only eight Marines in the US embassy in Islamabad and seven more would join them for security duties.

She also rejected reports that former President Pervez Musharraf had asked US to deploy 2,000 Marines in Pakistan. (ANI)

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