Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal has lambasted Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) agreement with an American lobbying firm. In a tweet on Friday, the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) leader said, “A conspiracy theory against the United States has been created in the nation, and it has come down to excuses and apologies now. First, they sent an envoy, then they begged the ambassador themselves, and now they are working on the apology by hiring a lobbyist.” Earlier, it emerged that the PTI’s wing in the United States has hired a lobbying and PR firm at the cost of $25,000 per month to manage its public and media relations in the United States. In the agreement, the PTI USA hired Fenton/Arlook, a PR and advocacy firm based in Washington, DC, to support “the Tehreek-e-Insaf party’s goal for good relations with the United States and the Pakistani diaspora in the US.” The PTI USA, which is based in New York, is the principal client of the lobbying firm. The firm has been hired for a period of six months at the cost of $25,000 to manage PTI USA’s public and media relations. “We will contact journalists, editors, producers and columnists on behalf of the PTI USA to explain their views to the US media only,” states the PR firm in the agreement, “This may include interviews, placing op-eds, and other standard media and public relations activities.” “Fenton/Arlook shall provide public relations services, including but not limited to distributing information to and briefing journalists, placing articles and broadcasts, arranging interviews with representatives or supporters of PTI, advising on social media efforts and other such public relations services,” the agreement signed between PTI and the PR firm stated. “For this work, Fenton/Arlook will charge a monthly retainer fee of $25,000 plus expenses. Payment of 2 months of fees in advance, or $50,000, plus an expense advance of $5,000 is due on or before August 10th, 2022, to cover work in August and September 2022,” it further read. The agreement was signed on August 1 between David Fenton of the Fenton/Arlook and Salman Ravala, the attorney for PTI USA. The agreement further states that the PTI USA is not supervised, owned or controlled by any foreign political party but will “in certain instances” be “directed by the foreign political party in Pakistan”, therefore the PTI. The information was first brought to light by Uzair Younus, director of the Pakistan Initiative at the Atlantic Council’s South Asia Centre, on social media. Younus also highlighted that the firm, Fenton/Arlook, was previously also hired by the Pakistan embassy in DC in March at the cost of $30,000 for similar purposes. Reportedly, Pakistan Embassy in Washington also acquired the services of the same firm. Minister for planning and development Ahsan Iqbal retweeted the document and accused the PTI of “begging the USA by all means whether sending emissaries or engaging lobbyists.” It is important to mention here that PTI’s chairman Imran Khan has on several occasions blamed the United States for conspiring with his rival political parties to send his government packing in April. PTI’s senior leader Fawad Chaudhry responded on Twitter that the firm was not a lobbying firm but a media relations firm. But LegiStorm, a US-based website that help lobbyist identify US congressional staff, lists Fenton/Arlook LLC, as a lobbying firm.