Troubled by the declining credibility of Pakistan around the world, the Imran Khan-led government has been hiring lobbying firm to improve its image in the US and European countries. Pakistan has been hiring lobbyists at astronomical costs in its new strategy to push anti-India stories in US and British media to discredit India at an international level.
As per reports, the Pakistani embassy in Washington has hired the services of Stephen Payne and Brian Ettinger of Linden Government Solutions to ensure effective representation Pakistan’s interest in the US. "Pakistan’s government has hired Stephen Payne and Brian Ettinger of Linden Government Solutions to lobby on its behalf, according to a disclosure filing. The duo previously lobbied for Pakistan during President George W Bush’s administration," as per a report published in Politico.
According to a copy of contract accessed by Zee News and filed with the US Department of Justice in Washington, it has the signature of Stephen Payne of Linden Government Solution and Asad Majeed Khan, Ambassador of Pakistan to the US. The contract reads, "The names of any such organizations and the amounts paid will be disclosed as part of Consultant’s Foreign Agents Registration Act filings with the US Department of Justice."
Pakistan has been facing a lot of criticism on continuous violation of human rights by its Army with the people of Balochistan and Sindh area. Many human right activists have protested against force disappearances and kidnapping by government agencies and Pakistan is worried about its criticism on the world forum.
In the USCIRF report, despite horrendous treatment of Ahmadiyas, who were not even allowed to be enumerated as minorities, and were excluded from Pakistan Minorities Commission, Pakistan through these lobbyists managed to prevent any critical references to itself but managed to include India as a country of particular concern.
The hiring of a lobbying firm for Pakistan is not new. In 2019, the Pakistani embassy in Washington had hired lobbyist firm Holland & Knight to ensure effective representation of Islamabad's interests in the US.
Relations between Pakistan and the US have been turbulent since Donald Trump took office in 2017, with the president repeatedly singling out Islamabad for failing to rein in terrorists and being an unfaithful partner in the fight against terrorism.