Thousands of dollars spent by Pak to get 9/11 findings dropped

New Delhi, Mar 19: Pakistan is alleged to have spent "tens of thousands of dollars" through its lobbyists in the United States to get some findings against it by the 9/11 inquiry commission dropped from its report, a media report has claimed.

According to a report in the 'Friday Times', Pakistan foreign office disclosed this to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) at a "secret meeting" held earlier this month.

The 9/11 commission, set up to probe the September 11 terrorist attacks on the united states, had published a lengthy report which "left out some information relating to Pakistan because the commission's members were paid by Pakistan to prevent them from including damaging information", the Pakistani weekly said.

Claiming that the PAC records were available with it, the weekly quoted Pakistan foreign office officials as well as "insiders" and unnamed sources present in the meeting as saying that the 9/11 report "softened towards Pakistan only because of the efforts of the foreign office".

Quoting Pakistan foreign office officials, it said, "Dramatic changes were made in the final draft of the inquiry commission report after Pakistani lobbyists arranged meetings with members of the commission and convinced them to remove anti-Pakistan findings".

"This information is also given in the PAC records available with 'The Friday Times' and reveals that Pakistan won over the sympathies of 75 US Congressmen as part of its strategy to guard the interests of Pakistan in the United States," the report said.

It said: "Insiders, however, say the US Congress does not know about the fact that money was paid to the inquiry commission to silence it".

It also quoted top foreign office officials as telling the PAC that hiring lobbyists was an established practice and all countries had their own lobbyists in the US.

They said these lobbyists inform the Pakistani embassy whenever there was a negative development against the country or any damaging issues being raised in the US Congress, the 'Friday Times' said.