LAHORE - The US Consulate in Lahore has been closed for an indefinite period for the reason that government had failed to provide sufficient security at the Consulate.
There is currently no indication of when the Lahore mission might reopen. The Department of State had earlier ordered closure of the Consulate on August 8th citing security threats.
All non-emergency staff was pulled out and shifted to the Islamabad Embassy while a few had been called back to the United States.
Spokeswoman for the US Embassy in Islamabad, Meghan Gregoris, said that US government would evaluate the security threat and take an appropriate decision whether or not to re-open the facility.
Sources, however, did not attribute any particular security threat to the Consulate, but they did affirm that the Consulate building at Lahore was not as secure as the US Embassy in Islamabad, and hence there was a strong possibility of it being attacked by terrorists any time.
Insiders told The Nation that US government had desired to take some security measures, which also included erection of some concrete structures on the road leading to the Consulate building, but the Pakistan government did not allow the new constructions. Upon this, the Department of State decided to close its Lahore facility in protest, said the sources, adding, that presence of several foreign and indigenous terrorist groups posed a potential danger to the Consulate staff at Lahore.
It may be recalled that a couple of months back the CDGL had after approval from the concerned Federal authorities stopped construction work on a security tower the US government wanted to construct outside the Consulate. It merits mentioning here that the road leading to the Consulate houses a number of government and private offices. It also serves as rear entrance to the Governor House. The government, on the other hand, thinks that too much security checks on the road would affect smooth flow of traffic headed towards these offices and the Governor House.