No plan to sell Pakistan’s old embassy buildings in Washington, London: Sartaj

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Advisor to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz on Wednesday rejected reports in media regarding sale of Pakistan’s embassy buildings in Washington D.C. and London.

He informed the House in categorical terms that although the buildings were lying vacant, the government had no intention to sell them, terming the report “premature and incorrect”.

Sartaj Aziz was responding to a calling attention notice of Mushahid Hussain Syed regarding a front page story published in a local newspaper on October 22 about sale of government property “Jinnah House” (former Embassy of Pakistan) located in Washington D.C. rather than converting the same into Jinnah House of Culture to promote Pakistan’s soft image in the United States.

The advisor said the PM had constituted a three-member committee to look into the possible options for better use of the old embassy building in Washington, and the government was waiting for the committee’s report.

He said that recommendations of the committee, whatever they are, would be shared with the House. However, he said, the building could not be utilized for commercial purpose due to zoning regulations, adding that it could not be converted into the Jinnah House of Culture because of several implications.

Initial report of the committee had suggested that the government could not fetch a good amount from the building’s sale because it was not commercially viable.

Aziz said that different countries were approaching to rent the building for setting up their own embassies.