I had informed embassy about Fai meet: Nayar
‘I had no clue where finances for the conference came from’
Veteran journalist and advocate of India-Pakistan friendship Kuldip Nayar had informed the Indian embassy in the U.S., before he attended an event organised by Kashmiri separatist and alleged ISI spy Ghulam Nabi Fai. “Even the Embassy did not know or did not tell me that Fai might have dubious connections,” Mr. Nayar told The Hindu here on Saturday.
Fai was arrested by the FBI earlier this month, for lobbying for Pakistan and using ISI funds for doing so. Later at a hearing in a U.S. court, Fai admitted getting funds from the ISI. Mr. Nayar, along with journalist and Jammu and Kashmir interlocutor Dileep Padgaonkar, as well as other intellectuals in India came under scrutiny after it was revealed that a part of the funds from the ISI went into organising conferences through Fai’s Kashmir American Council (KAC) in Washington DC.
“I had called the Embassy from New York to inform them. I had no clue where the finances for the conference held in June 2010 [which was called ‘India-Pakistan Relations: Breaking the Deadlock over Kashmir”] came from,” Mr. Nayar said.
Defending his decision, Mr. Nayar said, “They only paid for airfare and accommodation. I don’t drink, so that’s not an issue.”
“I should have been more careful, probably,” Mr. Nayar said. However, he stated that there was no pressure to say ‘certain things.’ “I only put forward my point of view that problems in Kashmir should be solved by mutual agreement,” he said. Fai did not talk much at the event, but “appeared influential,” he added.
According to agency reports, the conference ended with the passing of a resolution titled, “Washington Declaration,” which said that the participants “unanimously” expressed grave concern over the “deteriorating” human rights situation in Kashmir. It also urged the Indian government to withdraw its armed forces from civilian populated areas, seeking an impartial commission to investigate “killings” in a transparent manner.
Speaking about India-Pakistan relations to an audience consisting of journalism students here, Mr. Nayar said that both the governments had been dishonest in their approach to solving the issues. “They don’t want people-to-people contact. But that is what will actually pressure the governments.”
On the issue of Kashmir, he stated that making it a part of India soon after Partition would have made sense, as there were more Hindus then. There have been a lot of ‘human rights violations’ that have not been followed up consistently. “If you take an opinion poll now, most of the Muslims will say they want to go to Pakistan because they have seen India, but they don’t know what problems they might encounter in Pakistan.”