ISLAMABAD, March 23: Americans aim high but they may be asked to lower their seven-storey embassy building rising in Islamabad.
Dawn has learnt that the Capital Development Authority (CDA), which okayed the original plan of the embassy building in January, is now considering to change its building laws to limit all buildings in the Diplomatic Enclave to four storeys.
It is said the change was devised after an intelligence agency expressed uneasiness over important national buildings being exposed to snooping from the high and secure vantage point of a diplomatic mission.
Still, it will be an afterthought for the CDA to seek changes in the American embassy's building plan.
CDA Chairman Farkhand Iqbal, however, thinks differently. “As the construction of the new complex of US embassy is in its initial stage - its first storey is being constructed - the US authorities can be asked to follow our new guidelines,” he told Dawn .
Others though fear that the request to restrict the building to four storeys would escalate the tensions lingering between the two countries since a Nato air raid on Salala checkpost on border with Afghanistan last November killed two dozen Pakistani soldiers.
When contacted for comments, an official of the US embassy, Mr Raines Robert, said that so far the embassy had not received any communication from the CDA regarding restricting the number of storeys.
“The embassy is proceeding according to the approved building plan and has not received any notice that CDA is changing the plan,” he said.
The CDA chairman confirmed his statement. “We will put the issue (of restricting diplomatic buildings to four storeys) before an appropriate and higher forum so that US authorities could be asked to revise their plan,” said Mr Farkhand Iqbal.