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Pak. hunts for U.S. lobbyist amid strained diplomatic ties

Washington : With diplomatic relations between Pakistan and the United States strained following Washington’s refusal to subsidise an F-16 deal and President Barack Obama’s campaign to induct India into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), Islamabad is now looking for a paid lobbyist in the U.S. capital.

Pakistan Embassy spokesman Nadeem Hotiana has confirmed to that the country was now looking for a lobbyist “but has not yet taken any decision”, reports Dawn.

According to the U.S. Justice Department record the last law firm to lobby for Pakistan in Washington was Locke Lord Strategies and Islamabad failed to renew its contract with the firm in July 2013, after the Pakistan Muslim League -Nawaz (PML-N) replaced Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) in the government in Islamabad.

PPP hired Locke Lord mainly because one of its partners, Mark Siegel, was a personal friend of the late prime minister Benazir Bhutto, reports say.

Meanwhile, Diplomatic observers in Washington are of the opinion that even the best lobbyist could only try to improve Pakistan’s image, particularly on the Hill, but cannot promise to deliver.

“So Pakistan must think carefully before hiring a new lobbyist, as it costs money and a lot of it,” Dawn quoted one observer as saying.

The embassy was paying seventy-five thousand dollars per month to this group, which is the lobbying arm of the law firm Locke Lord.

According to the U.S. Justice Department records, Locke Lord earned about 4.5 million dollars while representing the country and takes credit for the passage of the 7.5 billion dollars KLB aid package to Pakistan in 2009. (ANI)