ISLAMABAD: In a bid to improve its estranged relations with the US, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has hired a Washington-based consultancy firm at a cost of $25,000 per month.
In the agreement, the PTI USA hired Fenton/Arlook, a PR and advocacy firm based in Washington DC, to support “the Tehreek-e-Insaf party’s goal for good relations with the United States and the Pakistani diaspora in the US.”
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 a cost of $25,000 to manage PTI USA’s public and media relations.
“We will contact journalists, editors, producers and columnists on behalf of the PTI USA to explain their views to the US media only,” states the PR firm in the agreement. “This may include interviews, placing op-eds, and other standard media and public relations activities.”
“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 the 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.
The agreement was signed on August 1st 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 PTI.
The information was first brought to light by Uzair Younus, director of the Pakistan Initiative at the Atlantic Council’s South Asia Centre, on social media.
Younus also highlighted that the firm, Fenton/Arlook, was previously also hired by the Pakistan embassy in DC in March at the cost of $30,000 for similar purposes.
Reportedly, Pakistan Embassy in Washington also acquired the services of the same firm.
Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal retweeted the document and accused the PTI of “begging the USA by all means whether sending emissaries or engaging lobbyists.”
However, in a tweet, PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry said that the firm was not a lobbying firm but a media relations firm.
But LegiStorm, a US-based website that help lobbyist identify US congressional staff, lists Fenton/Arlook LLC, as a lobbying firm.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2022