Put house in order before engaging lobbyist

THERE are reports that Pakistan is looking to hire lobbying firms in Washington 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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