Pakistan’s diplomatic property in Washington auctioned: report

ISLAMABAD: A property, owned by the Pakistan diplomatic mission in the American capital of Washington and has been put up for auction, has likely gone to the highest bidder, one Shahal Khan of Burkhan World Investments, according to a report.

Khan is believed to have offered $6.8 million for the property. Burkhan World is based in Washington and claims to “invest in projects that it believes will have a positive impact on our society”, the report said.

In an emailed response to the newspaper, Devin Orrego Guevara, a representative for Burkhan World confirmed that the highest bid for the property was submitted by Khan.

The diplomatic status of the property was revoked in 2018, which made it liable to pay taxes to Washington. In 2019, the embassy had paid $819,333 but there was an outstanding tax liability of $1.3 million.

Further, this outstanding tax would increase by $100,000 per quarter, according to the report.

Further, the newspaper report said that a Jewish group, which presumably wanted to build a synagogue at this site, submitted the “second-highest bid”. The third bidder was an American investment company, which apparently employs US citizens of Indian origin as well.

The newspaper reported quoting media reports from November 30 that the foreign ministry had informed the cabinet that the embassy in Washington is to be relocated to its present location in April 2003.

And since then the two old chancery buildings, at 2201 R Street, have remained unoccupied.

Although in 2010, then-prime minister Yousaf Raza Gillani approved the repair by taking a secured loan of $7 million from the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) in Washington.

The R Street building was purchased by Ambassador Syed Amjad Ali between 1953 and 1956.

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