Sunday, November 11, 2007
It was kind of funny, in a not-really-funny way, to read that Cassidy & Associates, a powerful Washington, D.C., lobbying firm, has opted out of its $1.2 million contract to represent the government of Pakistan in the nation's capital. According to The Hill.com, a Washington Web site, the Cassidy firm decided that the ongoing crackdown by President Pervez Musharraf against lawyers and pro-democracy groups made it impossible to portray Pakistan in a positive light. Gen. Musharraf, who took power in a 1999 coup, declared a state of emergency Nov. 3 and suspended Pakistan's constitution and Supreme Court. Musharraf claimed to make the move to help in his country's long battle with Taliban forces on the northern border with Afghanistan, observers in Pakistan say Musharraf acted to prevent a Supreme Court decision forcing him to give up his army post while serving as president. But things are not going all that badly for Pakistan. According to Washington Post columnist Jeffrey H. Burnbaum, Pakistan still has one of D.C.'s biggest lobbying firms, Van Scoyoc Associates, on retainer for $660,000 a year.