The new US consulate in Karachi…
Since my previous post incited a lot of confusion about the location and whereabouts of the new American consulate, let me clear all doubts.
The new American consulate was an unwelcome neighbour in most locations. It was previously proposed to be constructed near the Karachi Grammar School on Boat Basin. However, its security headaches prompted local area residents to sue for having it not built in their neighbourhoods. Consequently, it is now being constructed at the junction between M. T. Khan road and the Mai Kolachee bypass. If you pass by there and see two tall construction cranes, that is the site. I am highlighting the location in the satellite image below.
It so happens that this location falls on my daily route so I have been able to observe the stages of its construction from day 1. The construction activity is being carried out jointly with a Turkish firm. The structure has two perimeter walls, an outer brick wall with barbed wire on top, and an inner wall. The building structure itself is very solidly constructed with even the walls of the building being built of steeel re-enforced concrete — in order to make it bomb proof. The location itself is not very cleverly chosen since KPT just constructed a flyover in the vicinity which can give an aerial view inside the perimeter of the compound. Not to mention, it is located at the junction of two critical arteries of the city.
Nevertheless, the American government has been given a generous amount of land here so they can construct offices as well as residences for their officials in Karachi. However, they should now try to be good neighbours and avoid being a burden on Karachi’s citizens. The roads crossing near this location are main city arteries and any kind of blockade of these roads by the American Consulate should not be allowed by the city authorities. Very importantly, the location straddles important public transport routes and mini-buses and rickshaws should NEVER be dis-allowed from passing this area (as it happened on Abdullah Haroon rd). Hopefully, once this building is functional, the citizens of Karachi will once again be able to enjoy the gardens of the beautiful Frere Hall in un-inhibited peace.
Before parting, I must differentiate between American citizens and the American government (as pointed out by a commentor on my earlier post). The citizens of the United States can be of all kinds, just like the citizens of Pakistan. Of the ones who visit Pakistan, most would not like to live in such castles as the American consulate, and may go around to live in different hotels or even people’s houses. However, the American Consulate is an office of the American government and therefore represents an institutional entity which, due to its prominence, has understandable security needs. Since this location is being built from scratch, hopefully, the US government will be making sure that all its security needs within the city are being taken care of within the perimeter of its compound.