Bidder wants to convert Pakistan’s Washington property into institute

  • Shahal Khan has made a $6.8 billion bid to purchase old chancery building on in Washington DC.
  • Says he made the bid because of property’s historical status.
  • Bidder has sent a draft contract to Pakistan govt.

WASHINGTON: The highest bidder of the Pakistani embassy property in Washington, Shahal Khan, wants to establish an institute after repairing the “historical” building.

Khan has made a $6.8 billion bid to purchase the old chancery building on R-Street in northwest Washington DC.

“The highest bid has been placed, after that the bidding process should be completed,” Khan told Geo News

The Pakistani businessman said that he made the bid as the building has a “historical status”, adding that he has sent a draft contract to the Pakistan government.

In November of last year, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb announced that the cabinet has greenlighted the proposal of auctioning one of the two buildings in Washington, owned by the Pakistan Embassy.

She said in 2010, the then-prime minister approved the renovation of these two buildings. The renovation of one of the buildings was completed but only 60% work could be completed on the other building.

The minister said the US government had revoked the diplomatic status of the building and so far the government had paid $819,000 as tax. She said after 2019, $1.3 million tax had been paid on the building without any use.

As the building was not suitable for use due to incomplete renovation and the end of its diplomatic status, the cabinet approved the proposal to auction the building transparently.

She said in the past, a $4.5 million bid was given, but now a bid of $6.9 million has been given, which was $2.3 million higher than the previous one. If Pakistan did not auction the said building, the United States would itself auction it.

Meanwhile, in December Foreign Office spokeswoman Mumtaz Zahra Baloch also confirmed the approval of the sale.

In her weekly presser, spokeswoman Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said the building in question was smaller of the two buildings in which the Embassy of Pakistan was situated in the past and had become vacant in 2003 when the embassy moved to the new premises.

She said the sale of the property had become important, as not only was it vacant and in disrepair, but also because the building no longer enjoyed diplomatic status and was subject to local building and taxation regulations.

“The Government of Pakistan has, therefore, decided, after a thorough inter-ministerial process, that the property will be sold in an open bidding process fulfilling all codal and legal formalities,” she explained.

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