At Foreign Policy’s Middle East Channel, Ali Gharib reports, “The Pakistani ambassador to the U.S. hosted a fundraiser at his residence for a neoconservative D.C. think-tank, which solicited donations of $5,000 for invitations to the event”:
But the think-tank, the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), didn’t bother to tell the Pakistani embassy that the event was a fundraiser or that it was sandwiched in the middle of a two-and-a-half day conference on “Countering the Iranian Threat” put on by the group.
“We didn’t know at all that they have done this fundraising,” Imran Gardezi, a spokesperson for the Pakistani embassy, told the Middle East Channel. “And neither did they share with us that they would be doing this conference. Very frankly, we didn’t know about this conference.”
FDD’s president Cliff May — who, like his FDD colleague Reuel Marc Gerecht, is a strident advocate of aggressive action against Iran — denied that the event was a fundraiser, telling Gharib that “friends and supporters” were invited, and that there was no “quid-pro-quo” between the $5,000 donation and invitation to the dinner.
“I invited FDD donors at or above the $5,000 level to the event,” May wrote in a follow-up interview by e-mail. “Others friends of FDD were invited — at my discretion. Several FDD staff members were invited as well.”
The conference’s schedule reads:
Dinner at the residence of one
of Washington’s noteworthy Ambassadors
(Closed to Media)
(Minimum $5,000 gift required. Contribute here, or for more information on becoming a donor, please contact [e-mail of FDD staffer removed])
Pakistani Ambassador Husain Haqqani delivered brief remarks at his residence, but embassy spokesperson Imran Gardezi told Gharib that Iran was not an issue either during the dinner or Haqqani’s informal greeting:
“He made no remarks about Iran and there was no mention of Iran,” Gardezi said. “Anything prompting against Iran is, for Pakistan, unthinkable.”