`Fai`s Kashmir lobby was front for Pak intelligence`

Kashmiri separatist Ghulam Nabi Fai has been sentenced to two years in prison for concealing his links to Pakistan`s spy agency.

Washington: Kashmiri separatist Ghulam Nabi Fai, who has been sentenced to two years in prison for concealing his links to Pakistan`s spy agency, operated his lobbying outfit as a "front for Pakistani intelligence" for 20 years.

Fai, 62, was sentenced to two years in jail followed by three years of supervised release for conspiracy and tax violations while acting as an unregistered lobbyist for Pakistan by a US District Court in Alexandria, Virginia, a suburb of Washington DC, on Friday.

Fai, who pleaded guilty in December, headed the Kashmiri American Council (KAC), which was described as a non-governmental organisation financed by Americans with the goal of increasing knowledge about Kashmir.

According to court documents, the group actually got money from officials in the government of Pakistan, including members of the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI).

Prosecutors said the ISI not only gave Fai money but also directed the operations of his organisation and he conspired to hide the transfer of at least USD 3.5 million from the Pakistani government to pay for lobbying in the United States about Kashmir.

"Fai spent 20 years operating the Kashmiri American Council as a front for Pakistani intelligence," US Attorney Neil MacBride said in a written statement.

"He lied to the Justice Department, the IRS and many political leaders throughout the United States as he pushed the ISI`s propaganda on Kashmir."

Prosecutors say Fai admitted that from 1990 until July 2011, when he was arrested, he engaged in a conspiracy to get money from the government of Pakistan to fund the KAC and made false statements to the government.

Fai admitted that he knew a disclosure of his financial links to the ISI would harm his credibility as a supposed independent advocate for Kashmir.

Fai made personal contributions to a number of members of Congress between 1998 and 2008. Several members of Congress who had received contributions from Fai immediately made payments for the same amounts to various charities after Fai was arrested and his hidden connection to the government of Pakistan became known.

Federal Election Commission records show Fai gave USD 9,500 to the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee between 2004 and 2008. He also gave USD 250 to Barack Obama`s 2008 presidential campaign and the same amount to the 2000 presidential campaign of former vice president Al Gore.


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