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SC moved against US embassy expansion project

May 22, 2012


Supreme Court of Pakistan
Supreme Court of Pakistan. — Photo by AFP

ISLAMABAD: A retired army officer on Tuesday moved before the Supreme Court against expansion plans of US embassy, saying that it would pose a threat to national security and country's sovereignty.

A constitutional petition is moved by Lt. Col. (R) Inam-Ul- Rahiem, a practicing advocate of High Court, through his counsel Tariq Asad Advocate under Article 184 (3) of the Constitution.

The petitioner is also chief coordinator of All Pakistan Ex Servicemen legal Forum.

Making the Chairman of the Capital Development Authority and others as respondents in his plea, the petitioner said that the construction of huge building and underground bunkers were threat to the security and sovereignty of the state and against the right of life and liberty of citizens as guaranteed to them under Articles 4, 9, 10-A and 14 of the Constitution.

He said according to CDA sources, the US State Department had begun construction of building of new Embassy Compound in Islamabad.

The US had already raised the level of its manpower to such an extent as if a mini-state was being constructed.

He said, “The US is expanding its mission in Islamabad through a fortified Embassy compound by spending over a $1 billion on its construction. This expanded compound would be sufficient to house hundreds of new employees. Besides, US is strengthening its consulates in Karachi, Peshawar and Lahore.”

He said the Capital Development Authority (CDA) conveyed on January 10, its approval to the US embassy for the construction of 16 new buildings with covered area of 1,734,212.23 sq ft.

Deputy Director, Building Control Section-II of the CDA had conveyed the approval of the above building plans to Sandra M Muench, Management Counselor of the US embassy after a meeting of CDA Senior Management.

The Americans wanted to build a seven-floor building which could house 7,000 US personnel, he added.

He disputed a statement of US Embassy spokesman Mark Strouh who had explained that the US embassy was constructing new embassy building as the existing one was 30 years old which was a lame excuse.

The petitioner further said that construction work was already in full swing to construct a mini-America in Islamabad which required intervention and probe in the interest of security and sovereignty of Pakistan. The presence of such large number of Americans in Pakistan would be a security threat to Pakistan, he added.

Raising his other concern, he said the US was not expanding its Embassy but aimed to form its base in Islamabad, which could result in increase in terror activities in the country.

The petitioner was of the view that such expansion plans could be interlinked with Blackwater that was honeycombed with CIA, US Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), Pentagon and State Department in conducting a variety of operations.

“Additionally, it is also perceived by the people and the media to be involved in supporting the agenda of destroying the fabric of Pakistan's nationhood through suicide bombings, fanning religious extremism and supporting nationalist and separatist movements, using Pakistanis whose loyalties are up for sale, “ he added.

Requesting the Court to intervene, the petitioner argued that the respondents were derogating from the express provisions of the Constitution and were also allowing the external intervention by allowing the US Embassy to construct huge building, a few kilometers from Kahuta, which was threat to the “atomic assets” of Pakistan.

He maintained that US had motives to intervene in the sovereignty of Afghanistan and Pakistan for a long ago.

The Court was requested to form a high level Commission comprising of persons of high repute from retired judges of Supreme Court and/or High Courts, lawyers of high repute not necessarily the elected members, civil engineers to be nominated by the PEC, and the think tanks and politicians of good integrity to visit the site of US Embassy Buildings and submit a detailed report.