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Pakistani Pleads Guilty To Not Disclosing His Lobbying In U.S. For Islamabad

U.S. Justice Department in Washington, D.C.
U.S. Justice Department in Washington, D.C.

A Pakistani man has pleaded guilty in a U.S. court to failing to disclose that he lobbied in Washington between 2012 and 2018 on behalf of the Pakistani government, the Justice Department has said.

Nisar Ahmed Chaudhry, 71, admitted to working as an unregistered foreign agent who sought to influence U.S. policies towards Pakistan, it said on May 7.

He faces a maximum prison term of five years in his sentencing, which is scheduled for July 30.

A U.S. law known as the Foreign Agents Registration Act requires people to disclose to the Justice Department when they lobby or perform other political activities in the United States on behalf of foreign governments.

Until recently, the Justice Department has rarely brought criminal cases, choosing instead to encourage people to comply with the law rather than prosecute them when they fail to do so.

As part of his plea Chaudhry, who resides in Columbia, Maryland, admitted to secretly acting as an agent for the Pakistani government in an effort to get information about and influence U.S. government policies toward Pakistan.

Prosecutors say Chaudhry, who represented himself as the president of the Pakistan American League, organized roundtable discussions in the Washington area aimed at influencing U.S. policy and also traveled to Pakistan to brief government officials there on information that he had learned from U.S. contacts.

Chaudhry told U.S. government officials, including Customs and Border Protection agents and think-tank contacts, that his work was solely educational in nature and not affiliated with the Pakistani government, the Justice Department said.

In fact, prosecutors say, his activities were designed to shape U.S. policy in a way that favored Pakistani interests.

A public defender listed as representing Chaudhry did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters

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