As part of their continuous focus on using “softer” methods to dent India’s image in the international forum, an elected member of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek E Insaaf (PTI) party, has tied up with two lobbying firms in the United States (US) in January this year with the stated agenda of mobilizing support against India in view of the “atrocities” taking place in Kashmir.
The two lobbying groups—Kashmir Action Network (KAN) and Chinar Consulting, both based in Washington—were engaged by Bilal Ahmed Ghaffar who is a member of the provincial assembly of Sindh, Pakistan, on a PTI ticket. Ghaffar is considered to be close to PTI party president and Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. However, as per officials aware of the developments, both these groups will be representing the interest of—as per the documents they have filed with the relevant U.S government authorities—the government of Pakistan and not of Ghaffar.
While KAN had come into existence in May 2020, the Chinar consulting group was born in January 2020.
Both of these groups are owned by Germany born US national Carin Fischer whose full name is Carin Jodha Fischer. Fischer, as per multiple accounts, came to Kashmir in 2006 as a tourist, till she was asked to leave by the Indian government in June 2016.
Fischer, during her more than 10 years’ stay in Kashmir, which she now describes as “Indian occupied Kashmir’’, got many mentions in Indian newspapers and news websites where she was quoted as a “foreign tourist”, a “tourism expert” and an “ecological expert”. During her stay here, she ran different NGOs, including the Rafiabad Rural Development Foundation. Rafiabad is a town in Baramulla district near the Line of Control.
For her service, the Pakistan government will be paying both these lobbying groups, owned by Fischer, a monthly fee of $3,500.00 each which translates to Pakistani Rs 11 lakh monthly or Pakistani Rs 1.32 crore annually.
As per the agreement entered into by Fischer and government of Pakistan, the services provided by KEM will include grassroots advocacy mobilization related to the subject of “civil, political, and human rights violations and international law violations taking place in Indian occupied Kashmir” and “raising awareness about the complete absence of civil and democratic rights, the shrinking political rights, and the absolute crushing of the will and determination of the Kashmiri people”.
For this purpose, as per the promise made by Fischer, she will try to influence the legislature and media. Similarly, the services provided by Chinar Group will include improving the Pakistan government’s relations with the US government and media.
It is pertinent to mention that Pakistan has already hired two other US lobbying groups, BLJ Worldwide and Linden Government Solutions, to mount an anti-India campaign in the West as reported by The Sunday Guardian (https://www.sundayguardianlive.com/news/pak-employs-lobbying-firms-smear-indias-image-us) earlier.