American Centre in Islamabad closed

Published August 13, 2002

ISLAMABAD, Aug 12: The US authorities on Monday shut down the American Centre in Islamabad because of security concerns.

The closure of the American Centre here comes exactly a week after the US Consulate-General in Karachi was closed for similar reasons.

“American Centre in Islamabad has been closed for security reasons until further notice,” Linda Cheatham, the Acting Public Affairs officer at the US embassy, told Dawn on Monday. “The staff will however keep working,” she added without specifying from where.

To a query about impending closure of the US embassy, Ms Cheatham snapped back: “Not that I know of.”

When asked if the American Centre closure advice came from Washington or the local authorities, the US embassy Public Affairs Officer said she could not give any more information.

A senior official of the Interior Ministry when contacted by Dawn on Monday said he was unaware of the closure. He was also unsure as to whether his Ministry had alerted the US authorities.

Informed diplomatic sources told Dawn that the decision to close the American centre was taken at a meeting last week. The staff was informed about it on Friday.

Meanwhile, the American centres in Lahore and Peshawar, Ms Cheatham said, were functioning normally.

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