PTI’s deal with US lobbying firm exposes double standards: Sherry

The Nation  |  Mar 24, 2023

ISLAMABAD    -     Federal Minister for Climate Change, Senator Sherry Rehman on Thursday said that PTI’s deal with US lobbying firm exposes its double standards and U-turns.

PTI has signed a six-month agreement with a private US consulting firm Praia Consultant, and to pay $50,000 for their services in lobbying American decision makers and restoring PTI’s lost credibility, she claimed.

The minister said that many countries appoint lobbyists, so do political parties, but this case is particularly bizarre because it comes from a party that attempted to pose itself as martyrs to American meddling. “If that was the case, why are they now locked in a desperate attempt to buy influence of the US decision-makers after the failure of the ‘Cypher Conspiracy’ narrative and earlier lobbying efforts? PTI’s double standards and U-turns have been exposed many times,” she said. “Now, they are constantly taking the services of lobbying companies for their publicity in the US. Imran’s concocted narrative has been exposed numerous times that show he was planning to ‘play’ with Pakistan’s interests for his own personal politics.”

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The minister continued, “Despite previously blaming the US for their loss of power, PTI hired an American lobbying firm Fentone Arlook LLC in October last year, only to quickly backtrack on their criticism of the US within a month. It’s now apparent that their hiring of lobbyists is not with Pakistan’s interests and integrity in mind, but rather as a means to influence the country’s domestic politics for their own gain. This brazen privileging of self-interest above national interest is a clear indication of PTI’s willingness to compromise Pakistan’s interests for the sake of their own political agenda.”

The agreement allows the consulting firm to arrange meetings between PTI leaders and US decision- makers, and to provide guidance on the content of these meetings. Sherry Rehman highlighted that normally political parties engage in lobbying for improving relations between the two countries, but it’s the opposite case here. “What set PTI apart is the sheer hypocrisy of their actions. They have actively campaigned against foreign influence in the past, while engaging in it themselves. Imran Khan must answer for his false narrative of an American conspiracy against him, which he peddled for months before suddenly backing down. His actions have impacted Pakistan’s foreign policy and image, and it is time for him to take responsibility for the damage caused, for which we are still paying. This Cyphergate scandal compromised Pakistan’s foreign relations with its key partners, which showed that Imran Khan is willing to sacrifice anything for personal gain and power.”

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The agreements between PTI-USA and the consulting firms are publicly available on the US Department of Justice Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) website and can be examined by anyone. “The people of Pakistan have the right to know who is representing them and what interests they are promoting. It is time for PTI to answer for their two-faced behaviour and be held accountable for the faultline between their words and deeds,” said the minister


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