EVEN FOR COUNTRIES with troubled relations with the United States, investing in lobbying can pay dividends. That’s why, as The Hill reports, it’s likely that Pakistan will hire a lobbying firm soon after being without representation on K St. since July 31, when Locke Lord Strategies terminated its contract with the country.
Pakistan and the United States have had an uneasy relationship since Bin Laden was killed in Abbottabad in May 2011. The discovery of the infamous terrorist leader living in comfort near Pakistan’s capitol city put a strain on the United States’ trust in the country. By the same token, the Pakistani government blasted the raid as an unauthorized military action on Pakistani soil without the government’s knowledge or approval.
Despite the frosty alliance between the two countries, The Sunlight Foundation notes that last month, the United States was preparing to unfreeze approximately $1.6 billion in aid that had been on hold since the Bin Laden raid, but Congress remains wary of being seen as supporting Pakistan. As a former Pakistani government official notes in The Hill’s article, “Unless Pakistan mounts a major lobbying effort, it will be difficult to turn the opinions on the Hill around.”
Have renewed lobbying efforts by other countries paid off? For Egypt, it’s too early to tell. Last month, Egypt hired the Glover Park Group after the United States put a freeze on military aid to the troubled nation. The hire comes after more than a year-long hiatus without K St. representation, during which time Egypt’s favorability rating has plummeted in the United States. While this doesn’t prove that hiring a lobbyists automatically earns approval, doing so certainly couldn’t hurt, especially in Pakistan’s case.