Pakistan mulls repossessing Washington embassy building despite receiving highest bid

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistani government is reportedly considering re-selling a government building in Washington despite receiving the highest bid for the property.

The old chancellery building on R Street in Northwest Washington had its diplomatic status revoked by the US government and has been vacant since 2003.

In November 2020, Pakistan’s Cabinet approved a proposal to auction the building, with the highest bid of $6.8 million coming from Pakistani businessman Shahal Khan.

Shahal Khan had shared his intention to establish an institute in the building after the renovations are completed.

However, the government has yet to finalize the deal with Khan and is reportedly avoiding contact with him.

In November 2020, Information Minister Mariyum Aurangzaib announced that the Cabinet had approved a proposal to auction one of the two government buildings in Washington, DC owned by the Pakistani embassy.

He added that in 2010 the Prime Minister approved the renovations of the two buildings and in one building about 60% of the work was completed while in the other no renovation was done.

As a result, it was deemed unfit for use and the cabinet decided to sell it transparently through an open bidding process.

The sale of the building has become important due to its vacant and dilapidated condition, as well as the fact that it is subject to local building and tax regulations.

Additionally, the highest bid for the property was $6.9 million, a significant increase from the previous highest bid of $4.5 million.

In December, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed approval of the sale and stated that the property would be sold through a thorough inter-ministerial process, following all necessary legal and codified formalities.

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