Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) party has reportedly hired a firm for lobbying in the United States to make aware of the threats faced by Pakistan’s former prime minister.
Dawn newspaper, quoting a senior party leader, reported that the PTI’s US unit signed a contract with a Washington-based lobbying firm, Praia Consultants LLC, on February 21 this year. The contract will be valid for six months and can be renewed for another six-month term with mutual consent.
The New York-based PTI will pay $8,333 per month to the US firm. Under the contract, the firm “shall provide expert advice regarding the client’s relationship with the US government and institutions”.
The firm shall also “organise meetings with several key US decision-makers and will provide guidance in terms of the content of the meetings”.
The details of the agreement were revealed only on Wednesday, a month after the contract was signed after Pakistan’s former US ambassador Hussain Haqqani posted a copy of the contract on his Twitter handle.
اندرون مُلک بیانیہ ہے کہ امریکہ سے “حقیقی آزادی” چاہئیے۔ اُدھر امریکہ میں لابئسٹوں کو ڈالروں میں ادائیگیاں جاری ہیں۔ عمران خان کی پی ٹی آئی نے امریکہ میں ایک اور لابئیسٹ ہائر کر لیا۔ 🤔 pic.twitter.com/g0vaFzFHA5
— Husain Haqqani (@husainhaqqani) March 22, 2023
This prompted strong reactions from the adviser to the PTI chairman on overseas affairs, Atif Khan, who then publicly acknowledged the contract.
“What we are paying the firm, does not come from Pakistan. It’s our money that we are spending to protect Imran Khan,” he wrote.
“The firm will help us in making Americans aware of the threat to Khan’s life,” he told Dawn.
The need to hire a lobbying firm to repair relations between Khan and the Biden administration marks a departure from the party’s previous policy where Washington has been blamed for the cricketer-turned-politician’s ouster from the government in April last year.
With this, the PTI hopes to win over the sympathies for the former prime minister in Washington where he is believed to be unpopular.
(With inputs from agencies)
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