Wednesday, January 19, 2011

US ConGen Karachi moves to New Consulate Compound ...

NCC already overpopulated before completion

The US Consulate General in Karachi which faced numerous delays in the construction of its new consulate compound (NCC) due to difficulties with the customs clearances and other bureaucratic obstacles finally move to its new digs this past week.

Below is a photo of the staff as the American flag was lowered for the last time at the old Consulate building in Karachi, which was once a warehouse. According to the OIG: "The consulate general is currently operating out of what was once the consulate’s warehouse. To better ensure the safety of staff, the original consulate building was abandoned several years ago, and an extensive rehabilitation of a temporary location in a more secure portion of the compound was undertaken, pending the construction of the NCC in a different part of Karachi. The original consulate building is now used as setback between the temporary office building and a major road. The facilities maintenance staff has done an admirable job of converting the temporary office building into a user-friendly, comfortable working space, despite the fact that the building was never intended to be used for offices and has insufficient space for operations."

TSB at The Skeptical Bureaucrat has posted the scars and long history of the old consulate building in an Obituary For A Consulate Office Building. Read it here.

Old consulate building in Karachi
Photo from US CG Karachi/Facebook

So they said goodbye to that one and move into this one, a new consulate compound planned in 2006 long before Pakistan became front and center in the administration's foreign policy agenda.

Flag ceremony at US ConGen Karachi's New Consulate Compound
Photo from US CG Karachi/Facebook

Last year, the OIG noted that the 2006 plans for the NCC did not anticipate the explosive growth that Karachi faced. We understand that by next fiscal year, Karachi will increase from 33 to 55 U.S. direct-hire positions and from 170 to 191 LE staff. Also from the OIG: "USAID is proposing to send 19 additional employees to Karachi to support a high-profile foreign assistance agenda. A number of other agencies are also looking to expand their presence in Karachi. The consulate estimates that it will require an additional 24 desks and 28 residential housing units by the time the new facility opens. In short, the NCC has become overpopulated before completion."

So there, you just got a new NCC and it's already crowded beyond capacity.  We do not envy you guys for your brand new headache. 

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