A 71-year-old Pakistani national, who lobbied in the US on behalf of the government of Pakistan under the garb of improving bilateral ties has pleaded guilty of failing to register as a foreign agent, according to the Department of Justice.
Nisar Ahmed Chaudhry, a national of Pakistan and a lawful permanent resident of the United States, represented himself to be the president of the Pakistan American League.
Chaudhry failed to file a registration statement with the Attorney General, as required by law, providing notification of his activities on behalf of the Government of Pakistan, the Department of Justice said on Monday.
The accused faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison. His sentencing is scheduled for July 30, it said.
The accused falsely represented that his activities in relation to Pakistan were solely educational in nature and executed for the benign purpose of encouraging better relations between the United States and Pakistan.
According to his plea agreement, from 2012 through 2018, Chaudhry acted as an agent of the government of Pakistan in order to engage in political activities for, and in the interests of, Pakistan.
These activities were designed by Chaudhry to obtain and manage information on the status of the US government’s policies regarding Pakistan, and to influence US government officials and US foreign policy towards Pakistan.
Chaudhry interacted on a routine basis with representatives of the government of Pakistan, at their Embassy in Washington, DC and consular office in New York City.
The Department of Justice said Chaudhry also interacted with numerous institutes, foundations and organisations operating in and around Washington, DC that played a role in shaping and influencing US foreign policy.
Chaudhry organised discussions in Washington, DC and Maryland metropolitan areas between his American government and think tank contacts and visiting Pakistan government officials to influence United States foreign policy in a direction favourable to Pakistan’s interests.
Over the years, he cultivated contacts within these entities and the US government in order to obtain in-depth information regarding the US policies towards Pakistan.
“Chaudhry then sought to neutralise unfavourable views of Pakistan held by current and former US government officials by employing certain methods of discussion with these individuals during personal interactions with them and/or by controlling and manipulating discussion at the roundtable events he organised or attended,” the Department of Justice alleged.
Federal prosecutors alleged that to be more effective in obtaining information of interest to Pakistan and to gain a strategic advantage in acquiring information that might not otherwise be divulged to official representatives of the government of Pakistan, Chaudhry falsely represented that his activities were solely educational in nature and not affiliated with the Pakistan government.
According to his plea agreement, Chaudhry regularly travelled to Pakistan to brief high-level Pakistan government officials on information obtained from his American government and think tank contacts.
He also met Pakistan government officials in the US to report on the details of his meetings in Pakistan with high-level Pakistan government officials, and obtain information regarding matters of interest to Pakistan relevant to his activities in the US on behalf of the Pakistan government.
Chaudhry was invited to events at the Pakistan Embassy and meetings with high-level Pakistan government officials. He was allowed to use the diplomatic channels to ship personal items to and from Pakistan, among other things, it was alleged.