PTI has engaged a Washington-based lobbying firm to support the party’s goal of developing good ties with the United States and the Pakistani diaspora in the country, it emerged on Friday.
The development comes after reports claimed that the party is making attempts to mend ties with the Joe Biden administration. The PTI had accused US for overthrowing the Imran Khan-led government through a conspiracy by supporting the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM).
The PTI USA, which is based in New York, is the principal client of the lobbying firm. The firm has been hired for a period of six months at the cost of $25,000 to manage the PTI USA’s public and media relations.
The agreement was signed on August 1 between David Fenton of the Fenton/Arlook and Salman Ravala, the attorney for PTI USA.
The agreement further states that the PTI USA is not supervised, owned or controlled by any foreign political party but will “in certain instances” be “directed by the foreign political party in Pakistan”, therefore the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.
“Fenton/Arlook shall provide public relations services, including but not limited to distributing information to and briefing journalists, placing articles and broadcasts, arranging interviews with representatives or supporters of PTI, advising on social media efforts and other such public relations services,” the agreement signed between PTI and the PR firm stated.
“For this work Fenton/Arlook will charge a monthly retainer fee of $25,000 plus expenses. Payment of 2 months of fees in advance, or $50,000, plus an expense advance of $5,000 is due on or before August 10th, 2022, to cover work in August and September, 2022,” it further read.
PTI Chairman Imran Khan had claimed that the US had threatened to topple his government due to his independent foreign policy —a blame both the US and PDM deny.
However, the party has now been making efforts to rebuild its ties with the US and recently the PTI chairman had a secret video call with US Ambassador Donald Bloom.
Reportedly, Pakistan Embassy in Washington also acquired the services of the same firm.
‘PR firm not lobbying firm’
However, senior PTI leader and former information minister Fawad Chaudhry tried to play down the move.
“I have asked for the Urdu translation of the papers so that journalists and ministers can understand that this is not a lobbying firm but a media relations firm engaged by PTI USA to highlight its point of view in the media,” he said in a tweet.
Such companies, Fawad said, have a job to build relationships in the media with the party.
‘Imran Khan has hundred faces’
Meanwhile, Federal Minister for Planning Ahsan Iqbal has slammed PTI chairman for trying to fool the nation.
“I have never had any doubt that Imran Khan has a hundred faces. What he poses and professes is a smokescreen. Behind this smokescreen is the face of an egomaniac, narcissist and selfish person.”
Ahsan Iqbal said that Imran Khan is now begging the USA by all means whether sending emissaries or engaging lobbyists.