US may have to shell out five-times more for acquiring land for Islamabad embassy

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Islamabad, Oct.31 (ANI): The United States may have to shell out more money for the land it had acquired for the expansion of its Islamabad embassy, as the Pakistan Foreign Office has suggested increasing the rate of the piece of the land provided to the US.

According to sources, the Foreign Office has submitted a report to Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani suggesting that the rate of the land offered to the US for the expansion of the Islamabad embassy should be increased to 80,000 rupees per square yard from the existing 15,000 rupees per square yard.

The report said the US embassy should pay the difference failing which the size of the plot should be reduced to the originally earmarked 18.5 acres.

It said that while all other foreign missions had been asked to pay 80,000 rupees per square yard, it was only the US to which the land was being allotted at an older rate.

When enquired about the issue, a Capital Development Authority (CDA) official said the American officials have not yet been given an authority letter of the plot.

"The US authorities have so far not been given offer letter and only the Foreign Office had been informed that the CDA will charge at the rate of 15,000 rupees per square yard for additional land," The Dawn quoted the official, as saying.

It is worth mentioning here that 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, sources said.

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, fanning speculations regarding its intentions. (ANI)

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