Unkept Pak properties in US turn embarrassing eyesores for Islamabad

June 10th, 2008 - 1:41 pm ICT by ANI  

Pervez Musharraf

Washington , June 10 (ANI): Two of the three properties belonging to Pakistan in Washington s diplomatic row, are said to be in a dilapidated form, and are considered a cause of danger and disgust to officials and neighbours and a source of embarrassment for Islamabad .

Washington s diplomatic row is a home to scores of embassies and diplomatic missions.

The R Street property is a four-storey mansion built in 1907 and is valued at 4.1 million dollars. Unlicensed cars in rear courtyard, overgrown shrubbery, cracked pavement, trash and empty liquor bottles are to be seen at the abandoned building, said a detailed report published in the Washington Post on Sunday.

The four-storey chancery building at 2315 Massachusetts Avenue was built in 1910 and is valued at 6.8 million dollars, characterised by waist-high weeds until recently, twisted Venetian blinds visible from street, and no front door knob.

Pakistan ambassador in Washington Hussain Haqqani promised to sort out this mess and ensured that the buildings, which, according to him, were a national asset, were taken due care of, no matter what the cost.

Pakistan owns three properties in Washington s diplomatic row, only one of which, the ambassadors residence, is occupied and in good order. The old chancery building at 2315 Massachusetts Avenue was vacated in 2004, and the entire embassy and its staff moved to International Drive , a diplomatic enclave set aside for several new embassies. It also houses Nigerian, Egyptian, Israeli, Malaysian and Bangladeshi embassies, said the paper.

A couple of years ago, President Pervez Musharraf while on a visit to Washington had declared that the chancery building would be turned into a Pakistan Cultural Centre. Although a number of ambassadors have made efforts to push the proposal further, things have remained exactly where they were.

The chancery building and the third Pakistani owned property on R street NW are in a state of disrepair, added the paper.

The Washington Post carried a detailed report on Sunday along with pictures showing the Pakistani buildings in tattered form. It said while some other countries have financial constraints in repairing their abandoned embassies, Pakistan has no such financial worries as it decides what to do with its former diplomatic headquarters on Embassy Row, which has been empty since it moved to a new complex off Van Ness Street NW .

Pakistan s old embassy on Massachusetts Avenue has been vacant for four years, along with its former diplomatic offices on R Street NW , where the intercom dangles by a wire in the marbled vestibule and crumpled newspapers are piled up, one dated Aug. 26, 2006, said the US paper report. (ANI)

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