American embassy pays longstanding Rs 1.7b to CDA

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The American embassy has paid Rs 1.7 billion to the Capital Development Authority (CDA) after the civic body paid the Islamabad Capital Terrritory (ICT) Rs 40.25 million as a registration fee for eight acres of land allotted to the embassy. The embassy had refused to pay the money to the revenue department of the city administration. The CDA’s finance wing paid Rs 40.25 million to the ICT on CDA Chairman Imtiaz Inayat Elahi’s directive. “The American embassy had not only refused to pay the registration fee but also withheld a Rs 1.7 billion payment to the CDA for eight acres of additional land allotted to the embassy by the authority in Diplomatic Enclave last year.
“ The embassy paid Rs 1.7 billion to the CDA after the authority paid Rs 40.25 million to the ICT administration”, an official source told Pakistan Today. He said the American embassy had started construction on the additional piece of land without submitting the site plan for its proposed complex to the CDA’s directorate concerned. “The US Embassy refused to pay the registration fee of the additional land on the grounds that the Pakistani Embassy in the United States was exempted from taxes on its property in Washington-DC,” he pointed out.
If the American Embassy was exempted from the payment of the registration fee, it was the responsibility of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to pay this huge amount since the CDA had already stopped its several projects due to the financial crunch. “Due to its rising financial liabilities, the CDA is unable to allocate funds for new projects in the city,” he said. The official said that earlier the embassy had acquired the additional 18 acres in Diplomatic Enclave at a rate of Rs 15,000 per sq yard.
Later, the CDA, through the Foreign Office, increased the cost of the land from Rs 15,000 per sq yard to 80,000 per sq yard, but the embassy opposed the increase and refused to make the payment according to the revised rate. “Other embassies and foreign missions desirous of having land in Diplomatic Enclave have also rejected the proposed increase, he added.