The United States Embassy officials in Islamabad have said after the planned expansion in its diplomatic missions in Pakistan, the US will double the number of its staff along with tripling the total number of personnel, BBC reported on Friday. They have also verified the reports regarding the purchase of Pearl Continental Hotel in Peshawar for the purpose of establishing diplomatic mission there. In an exclusive chat with the BBC, Deputy Ambassador Gerald Festine said the expansion work of the US Consulate in Karachi was going on for the last one year, while talks were underway to purchase the PC Hotel. One of the proposals is to purchase the PC Hotel in Peshawar as it has all the basic infrastructure according to our requirements. The negotiations are on and no final decision has been made as yet. But he did not give any timeframe. According to Gerald, the largest of the projects will be launched in Islamabad for which some land has already been procured and discussions are being held for buying more. He said after the expansion, the US nationals (250 are working in these missions at present) would be doubled. It also includes the military personnel who will arrive here for providing training to the Paksitani soldiers, Gerald added. But he said he did not have any information about their number. Answering a question regarding the allegations of purchasing 200 houses in the federal capital and hiring Blackwater, he maintained that such claims were baseless, but after the expansion they would need more residential facilities. As far as security agencies are concerned, we are in contact with local security agencies, and similarly the discussions are underway with the US agencies as well. Gerald did not contradicted the reports that Blackwater is being contracted in Pakistan. When he was asked the reason behind the expansion, he said the Obama administration has multiplied the US aid to Pakistan after which huge development projects will be started needing more men for looking after.