Pakistan has hired the services of a leading lobbying firm to ensure effective representation of Islamabad’s interests in the US, a media report said Saturday amid strained relations between the two countries.
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 extremists and being an unfaithful partner in the fight against terrorism.
Prime Minister Imran Khan is scheduled to meet Trump at his Oval Office on Monday, the first by a Pakistani leader in nearly four years, the last one being that of Nawaz Sharif in October 2015.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi witnessed the contract signing and held discussion with Reynolds and his team members in Washington, Pakistani news agency APP reported.
Qureshi said he was confident that Holland & Knight would be able to work efficiently with the Pakistani embassy to advance Pakistan’s interests in the US.
Reynolds thanked the foreign minister for reposing confidence in the firm and assured him of their full support in efforts to forge stronger Pakistan-US bilateral relations based on mutual respect and interests.
The lobbying team will comprise of Reynolds and other former members of congress, former senior administration officials, Capitol Hill veterans and other professional experts.
The Pakistani embassy had no lobbyist in Washington DC for the past six years, the report said.
The agreement coincides with Prime Minister Khan’s maiden visit to the US since assuming office.
The premier is accompanied by Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, ISI Director General Lt-Gen Faiz Hameed, Adviser on Commerce Abdul Razzak Dawood and Special Assistant on Overseas Pakistanis Zulfi Bukhari.