Sunlight Foundation

Obama-Sharif meeting: A look at the Pakistani lobbying that came before

As President Barack Obama prepares to welcome the sometimes controversial Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to the White House on Wednesday, U.S. officials are quietly preparing to release some $1.6 billion in aid for the south Asian nation that had been frozen ever since U.S. forces captured and killed 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden living in comfort not far from the Pakistani capital.

That raid -- which resulted in widespread anger in Pakistan against the U.S. and suspicion in the U.S. against Pakistan -- is just one of a number of thorny issues between the two countries. Others, outlined in a New York Times interview with Hussain Haqqani, Pakistan's former ambassador to the U.S., include the nuclear balance of power between Pakistan and it's rival neighbor, India, and continuing use of U.S. drone strikes against suspected terrorist targets in Pakistan. That practice has been widely criticized not only by Pakistanis but by human rights groups in the U.S.

Meant to mend what has been a fraught relationship between the U.S. and its sometimes troublesome ally, the White House meeting has been preceded by lobbying and public relations efforts on behalf of Pakistan, according to Sunlight's review of Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) records.

The Embassy of Pakistan hired Locke Lord Strategies for $504,000 during the six-month period ending in March. Locke Lord also provides pro bono representation for the Pakistani People’s Party -- a rival to Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League-N.

One of the contacts by Locke Lord Strategies was described as a reception honoring freshman representatives with Rep. Ami Bera, D-Calif., and Rep. Kyrsten Sinema D-Ariz. The form did not say who was in attendance. Bera, an Indian-American congressman, voiced support for U.S. mediated talks between India and Pakistan to "bring stability," according to the News India Times.

Other contacts included weekly emails to and meetings with U.S. officials, members of Congress and leading media outlets. All meetings and emails as regarding “U.S. Pakistan Bilateral Relations” See table below for full contact list.

Locke Lord Strategies contacts for Pakistan Embassy

Date Contact Description Type
1/29/13 Sen. James Inhofe, office: Senate, agency: Congress; U.S.-Pakistan Bilateral Relations unknown
11/13/12 Sen. Richard Lugar, office: Senate, agency: Congress; U.S.-Pakistan Bilateral Relations phone
2/25/13 Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, office: House, agency: Congress; U.S.-Pakistan Bilateral Relations other
1/4/13 U.S. Department of State, agency: U.S. Department of State; U.S.-Pakistan Bilateral Relations meeting
1/24/13 Ambassador Robin Raphel, office: Embassy to Pakistan, agency: Department of State; U.S.-Pakistan Bilateral Relations meeting
1/30/13 Sen. Christopher Murphy, office: Senate, agency: Congress; U.S.-Pakistan Bilateral Relations meeting
1/30/13 Sen. Timothy Kaine, office: Senate, agency: Congress; U.S.-Pakistan Bilateral Relations meeting
2/6/13 Rep. Nita Lowey, office: House, agency: Congress; U.S.-Pakistan Bilateral Relations meeting
2/12/13 Legislative Assistant Melissa Medina, office: Rep. Edward Royce, agency: House; U.S.-Pakistan Bilateral Relations meeting
2/12/13 Sen. Robert Menndez, office: Senate, agency: Congress; U.S.-Pakistan Bilateral Relations meeting
2/15/13 Rep. Mike Rogers, office: House, agency: Congress; U.S.-Pakistan Bilateral Relations meeting
2/26/13 Sen. Mike Lee, office: Senate, agency: Congress; U.S.-Pakistan Bilateral Relations meeting
2/26/13 Rep. Eliot Engel, office: House, agency: Congress; U.S.-Pakistan Bilateral Relations meeting
3/15/13 U.S. Department of State, agency: U.S. Department of State; U.S.-Pakistan Bilateral Relations meeting
3/15/13 Rep. Jim Bridenstine, office: House, agency: Congress; U.S.-Pakistan Bilateral Relations meeting
3/15/13 Legislative Director Alex Herrgott, office: Sen. James Inhofe, agency: Senate; U.S.-Pakistan Bilateral Relations meeting
3/26/13 Colonel Abbas K. Dahouk, agency: US Army; U.S.-Pakistan Bilateral Relations meeting
10/2/12 Ambassador Robin Raphel, office: Embassy to Pakistan, agency: Department of State; U.S.-Pakistan Bilateral Relations email
10/3/12 Ambassador Robin Raphel, office: Embassy to Pakistan, agency: Department of State; U.S.-Pakistan Bilateral Relations email
10/5/12 Ambassador Robin Raphel, office: Embassy to Pakistan, agency: Department of State; U.S.-Pakistan Bilateral Relations email
10/17/12 Ambassador Robin Raphel, office: Embassy to Pakistan, agency: Department of State; U.S.-Pakistan Bilateral Relations email
10/19/12 Chief of Staff, Office of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY Jess Fassler, office: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, agency: Senate; U.S.-Pakistan Bilateral Relations email
10/24/12 Ambassador Robin Raphel, office: Embassy to Pakistan, agency: Department of State; U.S.-Pakistan Bilateral Relations email
10/25/12 Ambassador Robin Raphel, office: Embassy to Pakistan, agency: Department of State; U.S.-Pakistan Bilateral Relations email
10/26/12 Ambassador Robin Raphel, office: Embassy to Pakistan, agency: Department of State; U.S.-Pakistan Bilateral Relations email
11/1/12 Ambassador Robin Raphel, office: Embassy to Pakistan, agency: Department of State; U.S.-Pakistan Bilateral Relations email
11/1/12 Ambassador Robin Raphel, office: Embassy to Pakistan, agency: Department of State; U.S.-Pakistan Bilateral Relations email
11/6/12 Ambassador Robin Raphel, office: Embassy to Pakistan, agency: Department of State; U.S.-Pakistan Bilateral Relations email
11/7/12 Ambassador Robin Raphel, office: Embassy to Pakistan, agency: Department of State; U.S.-Pakistan Bilateral Relations email
11/8/12 Ambassador Robin Raphel, office: Embassy to Pakistan, agency: Department of State; U.S.-Pakistan Bilateral Relations email
11/12/12 Ambassador Robin Raphel, office: Embassy to Pakistan, agency: Department of State; U.S.-Pakistan Bilateral Relations email
11/12/12 Ambassador Robin Raphel, office: Embassy to Pakistan, agency: Department of State; U.S.-Pakistan Bilateral Relations email
11/20/12 Ambassador Robin Raphel, office: Embassy to Pakistan, agency: Department of State; U.S.-Pakistan Bilateral Relations email
11/27/12 Ambassador Robin Raphel, office: Embassy to Pakistan, agency: Department of State; U.S.-Pakistan Bilateral Relations email
11/29/12 Ambassador Robin Raphel, office: Embassy to Pakistan, agency: Department of State; U.S.-Pakistan Bilateral Relations email
11/30/12 Ambassador Robin Raphel, office: Embassy to Pakistan, agency: Department of State; U.S.-Pakistan Bilateral Relations email
12/3/12 Ambassador Robin Raphel, office: Embassy to Pakistan, agency: Department of State; U.S.-Pakistan Bilateral Relations email
12/4/12 Ambassador Robin Raphel, office: Embassy to Pakistan, agency: Department of State; U.S.-Pakistan Bilateral Relations email
12/11/12 Ambassador Robin Raphel, office: Embassy to Pakistan, agency: Department of State; U.S.-Pakistan Bilateral Relations email
12/12/12 Ambassador Robin Raphel, office: Embassy to Pakistan, agency: Department of State; U.S.-Pakistan Bilateral Relations email
12/14/12 Ambassador Robin Raphel, office: Embassy to Pakistan, agency: Department of State; U.S.-Pakistan Bilateral Relations email
12/18/12 Ambassador Robin Raphel, office: Embassy to Pakistan, agency: Department of State; U.S.-Pakistan Bilateral Relations email
1/14/13 Ambassador Robin Raphel, office: Embassy to Pakistan, agency: Department of State; U.S.-Pakistan Bilateral Relations email
1/25/13 Ambassador Robin Raphel, office: Embassy to Pakistan, agency: Department of State; U.S.-Pakistan Bilateral Relations email
1/30/13 Ambassador Robin Raphel, office: Embassy to Pakistan, agency: Department of State; U.S.-Pakistan Bilateral Relations email
2/8/13 Ambassador Robin Raphel, office: Embassy to Pakistan, agency: Department of State; U.S.-Pakistan Bilateral Relations email
2/12/13 Ambassador Robin Raphel, office: Embassy to Pakistan, agency: Department of State; U.S.-Pakistan Bilateral Relations email
2/13/13 Ambassador Robin Raphel, office: Embassy to Pakistan, agency: Department of State; U.S.-Pakistan Bilateral Relations email
2/15/13 Ambassador Robin Raphel, office: Embassy to Pakistan, agency: Department of State; U.S.-Pakistan Bilateral Relations email
2/19/13 Ambassador Robin Raphel, office: Embassy to Pakistan, agency: Department of State; U.S.-Pakistan Bilateral Relations email
2/21/13 Ambassador Robin Raphel, office: Embassy to Pakistan, agency: Department of State; U.S.-Pakistan Bilateral Relations email
2/22/13 Ambassador Robin Raphel, office: Embassy to Pakistan, agency: Department of State; U.S.-Pakistan Bilateral Relations email
2/26/13 Ambassador Robin Raphel, office: Embassy to Pakistan, agency: Department of State; U.S.-Pakistan Bilateral Relations email
2/27/13 Ambassador Robin Raphel, office: Embassy to Pakistan, agency: Department of State; U.S.-Pakistan Bilateral Relations email
3/13/13 Ambassador Robin Raphel, office: Embassy to Pakistan, agency: Department of State; U.S.-Pakistan Bilateral Relations email
3/14/13 Ambassador Robin Raphel, office: Embassy to Pakistan, agency: Department of State; U.S.-Pakistan Bilateral Relations email
3/19/13 Ambassador Robin Raphel, office: Embassy to Pakistan, agency: Department of State; U.S.-Pakistan Bilateral Relations email
3/21/13 Ambassador Robin Raphel, office: Embassy to Pakistan, agency: Department of State; U.S.-Pakistan Bilateral Relations email
3/22/13 Ambassador Robin Raphel, office: Embassy to Pakistan, agency: Department of State; U.S.-Pakistan Bilateral Relations email
3/22/13 Ambassador Robin Raphel, office: Embassy to Pakistan, agency: Department of State; U.S.-Pakistan Bilateral Relations email
3/25/13 Ambassador Robin Raphel, office: Embassy to Pakistan, agency: Department of State; U.S.-Pakistan Bilateral Relations email
3/28/13 Ambassador Robin Raphel, office: Embassy to Pakistan, agency: Department of State; U.S.-Pakistan Bilateral Relations email

Former President Pervez Musharraf and his political party the All Pakistan Muslim League, are also cited in FARA records. Records show  that Raza Bokhari represents Musharrarf and his charity, the Pervez Musharraf Foundation, on a voluntary basis and serves scheduling liaison for Musharraf for press requests. During the last six-month period, Bokhari spoke to news organizations and congressmen. See table below for full contact list.

Raza Bokhari contacts for Musharrarf

Date Contact Description type
4/11/13 Rep. Mike Rogers, office: House, agency: Congress; Discussed U:S.-Pakistan relations and provided an update on former President Musharraf s political efforts. meeting
4/18/13 Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, State Department Dan Feldman, ; Discussed U:S.-Pakistan relations and provided an update on former President Musharraf s political efforts. meeting
4/24/13 Rep. Robert Andrews, office: House, agency: Congress; Discussed U.S.-Pakistan relations and provided an update on former President Musharraf s political efforts. meeting
4/25/13 Rep. Edward Royce, office: House, agency: Congress; Meeting with Congressman Ed Royce, Republican - California. Discussed U.S.-Pakistan relations and provided an update on former President Musharraf s political efforts meeting
4/26/13 Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, office: House, agency: Congress; Discussed U.S.-Pakistan relations and provided an update on former President Musharraf s political efforts meeting
5/21/13 Ambassador Richard Olson, ; Discussed U.S.-Pakistan relations and provided an update on former President Musharraf s political efforts meeting
08/31/13* AFP, agency: Media;   unknown
08/31/13* BBC Radio BBC Radio, ;   unknown
08/31/13* IBN, agency: Media;   unknown
08/31/13* CNN, agency: Media;   unknown
08/31/13* CBC, agency: Media;   unknown
08/31/13* Voice of America, agency: Media;   unknown

* Date of filing if no date was given.

The All Pakistan Muslim League does not report much activity on its most recent filing, but the party did earlier raise $51,000, according to a May, 2012 fundraising filing. The reports to the Department of Justice, state that the money was used to "cover expenses for community events" held in the United States.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-lnsaf, a left-leaning Pakistani party, led by the country's former cricket captain, Imran Khan, first registered with the Justice Department last March. It is the most recent Pakistani entity to register with FARA. In its client registration form, it says its goals are to “Encourage Pakistanis living in the USA to become Members of Pakistan Tehreek-e-lnsaf and Collect funds on behalf of Pakistan Tehreek-e-lnsaf”. Its next round of forms for this registrant are due in November, should show how fruitful their efforts have been.

Another political party, The Muttahida Quami Movement USA, is registered under MQM USA the files show the activity as “holding a brief session during MQM USA annual convention, discussing the policies of Muttahida Quami Movement.” No payments were recorded from the party

Sunlight is analyzing FARA filings as part of an ongoing process to create a structured database of foreign agent registrations, which represent the most detailed picture available on how lobbying works in Washington. Agents for foreign entities are required to provide much more detailed information about their contacts that lobbyists for domestic interests. Click here to learn more aobut the project.

(Contributing: Anu Narayanswamy; photo credit: Wikimedia)

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