Thursday Aug 18, 2022
An American consultancy firm headed by an ex-CIA station chief in Islamabad has come under scrutiny after being employed by the PTI to lobby and provide advice on Pakistan-US relations.
Grenier Consulting LLC's Robert Laurent Grenier was recruited last year, when the PTI was in power. Iftikharur Rehman Durrani signed the agreement with the firm in July 2021 under the "supervision of senior [PTI] party officials and under the direction of Pakistan government officials."
Grenier is a CIA veteran who worked as the agency's top counter-terrorism official from 2004 to 2006. He was also the CIA station chief in Islamabad during the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.
According to the Foreign Agents Registration Act documents, the contract between the firm and Durrani, on behalf of the PTI government, was signed for six months initially from May 1 to October 2021 for $25,000 per month. Grenier could not be reached for comments and to confirm if the contract was terminated or not.
According to the documents, the firm was to "maintain contacts with US government officials of both the executive and legislative branches, as well as with think tanks and other informed individuals, in addition to consulting with the client and the client’s associates, to determine how the scope of constructive relations between the US government and the government of Pakistan might be enhanced, and will advise his Pakistani client and the client’s associates accordingly, both through verbal and written communications."
It further highlights that the firm "will engage and consult with informed individuals in both the public and private sectors in both the US and Pakistan to make determinations as to how constructive relations between the US and Pakistan might be enhanced and provide advice to the client and his associates as to how this might be accomplished."
Hiring such lobbying firms to extend or propagate an entity’s interests is a routine exercise in the US. Besides the CIA officer’s lobbying firm, earlier this month PTI-USA Inc, a subsidiary of PTI, hired Fenton/Arlook to 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."