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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