By Hassan Zainagiree
The detention of the Executive Director of the US-based American Council, Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai by FBI in Washington last week has stunned and shocked the people of JK. It has also been received in bad taste by the people dedicated to the cause of liberty and justice and human dignity.
The arrest of Dr. Fai, a Kashmiri born American citizen , on the eve of American Foreign Secretary Hillary Clinton’s visit to New Delhi is significant. It reveals bonhomie India is having with the US. More than that it shows at now of the two partners, it is Washington which is making “amorous” advances and is completely besotted with New Delhi on the “new honey man”. Already US president Barak Obama has prided on embracing India as ‘natural ally’ and tendered support to Delhi’s bidding for a permanent seat in the Security Council. Never forget the civil nuclear deal that the two countries clenched during Bush era leaving Pakistan drooling at the mouth. And virtually making it Pakistan look as pariah.
What was the “crime” that ambassador of Kashmir cause has committed that warranted such a harsh step from the US government and ‘five years imprisonment if found guilty’. The US Justice Department said that FBI has arrested DR. Fai over a decade long effort to push Kashmir cause in Washington with Pakistan funding’. It alleged that the KAC was ‘actually run’ by elements of Pakistan government who ‘try to influence the United States by using unregistered agents and threaten our national security’.
With Dr. Fai another US citizen Pakistan born Zaheer Ahamad believed to be in Pakistan was charged of lobbying the US government without ‘disclosing the fact’ that they were being funded by the Pakistan government including its spy agency ISI.
Dr. Fai is living in America for the last 32 years . in 1977 he migrated to the US leaving his ancestral home Soibug Budgam . His KAC is registered in the US and operates over ground. The three-decade long living in the US bears testimony to Fai’s showing respect and compliance to US laws, Whatever DR. Fai did did it openly. Not clandestinely. He used to hold seminars and provide platform for political leaders, intellectuals , human right groups, diplomats and journalists of different persuasions and ideologies. The aim was not only to let world know of the plight of Kashmiris and their sufferings but also to find solution to Kashmir problem that has put world on a nuclear volcano and threatened world peace. The question is : ‘is over a decade-long effort to push Kashmir cause in Washington’ , in a non-violent peaceful manner and in open fora a “sin”, Dr. Fai has perpetuated? Does lobbying for a genuine cause make him accused of violating American Laws?
Among those attending seminars organized by Fai included interlocutor on JK and senior journalist Daleep Padgoankar, former chief justice of India Rajendar Sachar, journalist Kuldeep Nayar and Kashmir Times proprietor Ved Bhasin and some other eminent personalities from India. That in itself shows Dr. Fai’s approaching Kashmir problem was in synch with demand of justice and fair play. And that he didn’t act as a conduit of ‘some elements in Pakistan government’. Justice Sachar, Kuldip Nayar or Dr. Padgoankar and did not (AS THE SPEECHES THey MADE AT KAC platform depict ) speak the tutored language to please people in Kashmir or Pakistan. They continued to harp on the ‘integral part’ rhetoric of Kashmir.
About the funding by Pakistan accusation, though it is for the prosecution to prove the charges leveled against Dr. Fai in the court of law, yet on the “face value” it seems difficult to digest the prosecution plea. A country that boasts of having its radar even a small thin needle and bringing darkness of a cave in ‘lime light’ , how comes Dr. Fai’s account books remain hidden from the hawkish eyes of FBI? And if ‘over a decade long ‘ such funding was going on, what was FBI doing this time? The 9/11 came as a water-shed in thinking and behavior of American people and the American government vis-à-vis Muslims over the world . the surveillance in Muslim of whatever nationality in America reached to the maximum. Fai’s could not have been an exception. Why justice department maintained a silence? Or, is funding a latest FBI has “unearthed”? just wait. Here is how Nadim Malik, a close associate of Fai and the executive director of the advocacy group of Kashmir mission USA takes heat off the charges : ‘Fai and Kashmir freedom movement have nothing to do with FBI. Fai has donated to congressional campaigns of both parties for years. His donation include $ 250 to President Barack Obama in 2008, a total of $4,500 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee in 2004 and 2008; and $250 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.’
Obviously this contribution from Dr. Fai from 2004 to 2008 for congressional campaigns of Democrat and Republican parties could not have evaded off the watchful eye of American Intelligence. The “stink” of ‘using unregistered agents’ could not have remained that thickly covered. Many ultras in Foreign Office and Justice Department could have relished the ‘disclosure’, a prized one to choke Pakees(a derogatory term ultras in America use to vilify Pakistanees) to ignominy.
Then lobbying for country’s interest or for some genuine cause as that of Kashmiris’ right to self determination (RSD) that enjoys the ;legal and moral sanctity of the UN and acceptance of India and Pakistan as well, is not violative of American laws. There are hundreds of lobbying groups in the US that are hiring the support and service of the American influential people in government, Senate or Con gress and media houses. Jewish lobby exercises a dominating and domineering influence in virtually everything in US. India too does strong lobbying to further its interests. And does everything to buy support from people holding positions of power and influence on Kashmir Issue.
The Fai episode has to be looked into the context of the not-too-good relationship Washington holds with Islamabad following the ‘killing’ of Al-Qaeda Chief Osama –bin-ladin at the Abbotabad near Islamabad some three months before. The relations are on a lowest of low since then. US has stopped military aid to Pakistan and is trying to strangulate Pakistan on many other ways. Lady Clinton’s statement in New Delhi’s that America would not tolerate hub of terrorism (referring to Pakistan) in the vicinity of India reflects the new posturing. Dr. Fai’s arrest, under this back drop seems to be made at the ‘behest of Indian government and to appease her . it is in place to mention that Dr. Fai has recently participated in the OIC meeting in Kazakhstan where he highlighted the K-issue and pleaded Kashmiris RSD.