Fai’s Kashmir campaign at ISI`s behest: FBI
Last Updated: Wednesday, July 27, 2011, 15:21
  
Washington: Separatist leader Ghulam Nabi Fai's campaign for self-determination in Kashmir was at the direction of Pakistan's spy agency ISI, which provided him at least USD 4 million to influence American policy on the issue, prosecutors told a US court on Wednesday.

However, Fai's attorneys refuted such a claim and argued that the Kashmiri American Council chief has always espoused the cause of an independent Kashmir.

62-year-old Fai was arrested by the FBI last week on the charges of illegally lobbying on behalf of the Pakistan Government on Kashmir in the US.

Special FBI Agent Sarah Webb Linden told the court that ISI in its communication with Fai always argued for taking up the case of "self determination".

In fact for his every meeting, agenda and speeches, Fai received bullet points from his ISI handlers in Pakistan, Linden told the court.

Fai did what "ISI asked him to do," she said. Linden, who has played the lead role in the Fai case and has interrogated him several times, was responding to questions from defence attorney Khurram Wahid that Fai took an independent line on the issue of Kashmir.

"If you go back to all his speeches, messages and all the conferences that he put together, it is very clear that he always presented a very balanced picture what should be happening in Kashmir. It wasn't the Pakistani Government's picture. It was the picture of an independent autonomous Kashmir," Wahid said.

However, Linden tended to disagree in the court room. When asked to explain by Wahid, Linden said Pakistan politicians say different things at different times on Kashmir. "But whenever ISI spoke with Fai, it was always self-determination."

US Attorney Gordon Kromberg also alleged that Fai has been an ISI agent for the past two decades.

He told the court that during his interrogation after his arrest on July 19, Fai has acknowledged to his links with the ISI and having received money from the ISI.

Fai's another attorney Nina J Ginsberg argued that Fai received money from a number of governments.

"They believed that he had a balanced position. To say that he lived a lie is just rhetoric, exaggeration. He did not advocate for the Pakistanis and that's what mattered to the people who were listening to him and mattered to the people who he was fighting for," she said.

According to the affidavit filed in the District Court in Alexandria, Fai and the KAC have received at least USD 4 million, from the Pakistani government since the mid-1990s.

The affidavit alleges that although the KAC held itself out to be a Kashmiri organisation run by Kashmiris and financed by Americans, it is one of the three 'Kashmir Centers' that are actually run by elements of the Pakistani government, including ISI. The two other centers are in London and Brussels.

According to the affidavit, a confidential witness told investigators that he participated in a scheme to obscure the origin of money transferred by ISI to Fai to use as a lobbyist for the KAC in furtherance of Pakistan's interests.

The affidavit alleges that Fai has acted at the direction of and with the financial support of the Pakistani government for more than 20 years. It also alleges that four Pakistani government handlers have directed Fai's activities and that he has been in touch with his handlers more than 4,000 times since June 2008.

A second confidential witness told investigators that the ISI created the KAC to propagandize on behalf of the government of Pakistan with the goal of uniting Kashmir.

This witness said ISI's sponsorship and control of KAC were secret and that ISI had been directing Fai's activities for the past 25 years.

When questioned by the FBI about these relationships in March 2007, Fai allegedly stated that he had never met anyone who identified himself as being affiliated with the ISI.

In a March 2011 interview with the FBI, Fai again denied having any relationship with anyone in the Pakistani government.

The affidavit alleges that Fai repeatedly submitted annual KAC strategy reports and budgetary requirements to his Pakistani government handlers for approval.

One document entitled 'Plan of Action of KAC/Kashmir Center for Fiscal Year 2009' laid out Fai?s intended strategy to secure US Congressional support in order to encourage the Executive Branch to support self-determination in Kashmir; his strategy to build new alliances in the State Department, the National Security Council, the Congress and the Pentagon, and to expand KACs media efforts.

The affidavit said Fai also set forth KAC's projected budgetary requirements from the Pakistani government for 2009, including USD 100,000 for contributions to Congress members.

There is no evidence that any elected official who received financial contributions from Fai or the KAC was aware that the money originated from any part of the Pakistani government.

According to the affidavit, Fai received the money allegedly through one Ahmad and a network of other individuals connected to him. Ahmad allegedly arranges for his contacts in the US to provide money to Fai in return for repayment of those amounts in Pakistan.

PTI


First Published: Wednesday, July 27, 2011, 14:12


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