Put house in or­der be­fore en­gag­ing lob­by­ist

Pakistan Observer - - EDITORIALS & COMMENTS -


are re­ports that Pak­istan is looking to hire lob­by­ing firms in Wash in­g­ton af­ter a gap of nearly eight years, seek­ing to re­fur­bish its im­age in the United States. The move comes in the wake of a num­ber of ir­ri­tants in bi­lat­eral re­la­tion­ship that sur­faced re­cently to the detri­ment of Pak­istan.

Lob­by­ing is ex­ten­sively used in the United States to pro­mote dif­fer­ent causes by vested in­ter­ests and the num­ber of work­ing lob­by­ists is con­sid­ered to be close to one hun­dred thou­sand and the in­dus­try brings in $9 bil­lion an­nu­ally. There are ques­tion marks whether Pak­istan would be bet­ter off with lob­by­ing when the over­all think­ing both in the US ad­min­is­tra­tion and the Congress is neg­a­tive about the coun­try. When the US ad­min­is­tra­tion was pos­i­tive, Pak­istan gained much with­out lob­by­ing but in the pre­vail­ing hos­tile en­vi­ron­ment even lob­by­ists are not ex­pected to pro­duce mir­a­cles. How­ever, lob­by­ing can def­i­nitely in­flu­ence think­ing and pol­icy for­mu­la­tion to some ex­tent and it is for our de­ci­sion-mak­ers to an­a­lyse whether the ex­er­cise would be worth the ex­pected ex­pen­di­ture. How­ever, be­fore go­ing to hire lob­by­ing firms, we must re­mem­ber that lob­by­ists spin things to project pos­i­tive im­age. That ob­jec­tive can only be achieved if Pak­istan puts its own house in or­der to send a strong mes­sage to oth­ers. What a lob­by­ist would do when we are en­gaged in blame game, leg-pulling and desta­bi­liza­tion? Pos­i­tive re­sults can only be se­cured if gov­ern­ment and op­po­si­tion lead­er­ship shuns self-cen­tred pol­i­tics and me­dia too projects Pak­istan in pos­i­tive light.

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