In this wittily written piece in the Washington Post, by its Pakistan bureau chief Tim Craig, a diplomatic controversy concerning trees in Islamabad shades, as trees tend to, the presumably undisclosed reason why the US embassy there is expanding. This expansion is cleverly hidden like a nugget in the article, halfway down at least, after a charming picture is painted of the city as one of the greenest, where landowners must get state permission to remove trees, all set in a palace of alternating parkland.
The description of ecological regulations in the city didn’t surprise me but did seem slightly at odds with what I’d heard about some unchecked urban development and so on in, I guess, the rest of the country. Indeed, careful to avoid the impression of being a PR job for Pakistan’s ecological reputation the article concludes by drawing attention to Pakistan’s ecological problems; deforestation and the possible relationship with flooding.
Nevertheless this due journalistic diligence does seem a little like a segue away from the key question, only briefly considered in Mr Craig’s piece: what drives the US embassy to expansion, and is it really that secret?