Ghulam Nabi Fai, a notorious criminal and the ISI’s pointsman in the United States, who was convicted for working in the United States for Pakistani intelligence network Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) to lobby for Kashmiri independence, has become active again to influence US lawmakers and influencers to further Pakistan’s agenda on Kashmir, reports Sunday Guardian.
Reportedly, certain backers of the Indian interest in the US believe that the recent anti-India propaganda in the United States, especially from the Capitol Hill and in the media, is the result of the intense lobbying from Fai.
Fai, who was arrested in July 2011 from Virginia for concealing the transfer of $3.5 million from the ISI to fund his lobbying efforts, was sent to 24 months of a prison sentence in March 2012. He began his sentence from 26 June 2012 at the Federal Correctional Institution in Cumberland, Maryland. However, he was released earlier in 2013 for his “cooperation” with US officials.
We had earlier reported regarding Fai, who is known to be the public face of the anti-India Kashmiri lobby in the United States. He has organised high-profile events to lobby against the Indian government on the issue of Kashmir. Fai, who was born Kashmir was charged with using at least $4 million in Pakistani funds in a bid to influence the US position on the issue Kashmir.
Interestingly, Gautam Navlakha – another notorious ‘Urban Naxal’ who is accused of plotting to kill Prime Minister PM Modi, has connections with Ghulam Fai. Navlakha attended events organized by Ghulam Nabi Fai in a past to deliberately tilt USA’s policy regarding Kashmir against India.
Fai, after hiding for a couple of years following his release, has now restarted his dirty tricks and has tried to activate his anti-India lobbying. The report suggests that Fai has resumed his interactions with members of the US Senate and the media and has become very active following the passage of CAA in India.
“He has been appearing on audio-video mediums across the US to highlight ‘Indian atrocities in Kashmir and against Muslims’, penning articles and collaborating with Indian influencers for the same purpose,” an intelligence official said to The Sunday Guardian.
Fai is now the secretary-general of the Washington-based World Kashmir Awareness Forum (WKAF), which is headed by Ghulam Nabi Mir, president of World Kashmir Awareness Forum. WKAF is among the most aggressive anti-India voices in the US and openly calls for Kashmir’s secession from India.
Mir’s son, Aimem had earlier served as president of the youth wing of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) two times. He had worked in a top advisory position in the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), a national security post in the Treasury Department, where he was appointed by President Barack Obama. Aimem’s appointment had led to a lot of controversies because of his close links with the ISNA, as it is known to be the most prominent Muslim Brotherhood group in the US.
In his statement to the Virginia court after his arrest, Fai had confessed of receiving $500,000 (Rs 3 crore) in the year 2000 by the ISI to push Pakistan’s agenda. This included Rs 60 lakh for US Congress members, Rs 1.20 crore for organising conferences, Rs 35 lakh for media relations and Rs 18 lakh for organising Congress members’ trip to Kashmir.
These events were organised under the aegis of the Kashmiri American Council (KAC), which also goes by the name of “Kashmir Center”. The FBI found that the KAC is one of three “Kashmir Centers” that are actually run by elements of the Pakistani government, including Pakistan’s military intelligence service, the Inter-Services Intelligence Agency (ISI). The two other “Kashmir Centers” are in London and Brussels.
In 2001, the budget was revised to $455,000, $490,000 for 2005 and $719,000 for 2006. By the time he was arrested in 2011, Fai had a coffer of almost Rs 7.5 crore per year which he was spending on conferences, influencing members of the media and people at the Capitol.
Fai and the FBI special agent, Sarah Webb Linden, who investigated the case, identified Javed Aziz Khan, also known as “Brigadier Abdullah” as the ISI officer responsible for handling Kashmiri affairs in the mid-1990s.
According to Fai himself, the ISI had worked on three objectives. The first objective is to persuade the US administration that self-determination in Kashmir would advance the national interests of the United States. Secondly, to influence the Congress, with the House International Relations and the Senate Foreign Relations Committees being the centrepieces of KAC’s advocacy effort. Lastly, the idea was to capture media attention to influence the debate on Kashmir, including staging creative events that draw the press corps to the issue of Kashmir.
In April 2012, the Jammu and Kashmir state government had constituted an SIT to probe the organisations and individuals in the state who were on the payroll of Fai and ISI. The SIT was constituted under the leadership of Uttam Chand, a 2002 batch IPS officer, who was posted as SSP, Badgam. Chand is presently on a Central deputation in the Cabinet Secretariat. There is not enough progress on the SIT front and no action was taken against individuals and organisations, who were working for Fai in India.
As per the government order, Chand was required to unravel Fai’s links in the state and find about the hawala funds that were reported to be received by various individuals, including separatists, journalists, intellectuals, NGOs etc., from Fai. The findings of the SIT were expected to be the precursor to seeking the extradition of Fai from the US. However, the matter was forgotten.
In 1980, a Public Safety Act (PSA) warrant was issued against Fai by the then-District Magistrate in Badgam for his involvement in anti-national activities, which is still pending against him in police records. After the issuance of the PSA warrant, Fai had fled the Kashmir valley and reached Saudi Arabia from where he was sent to the US by the King Faisal Foundation which paid for his schooling and other expenses at Temple University in Pennsylvania.
The importance of Fai for Pakistan can be understood from an October 2016 report prepared by a 13-member committee of the Pakistan Senate which recommended constitution of a Media Coordination Committee (MCC), comprising journalists, representatives of the Foreign Office, Ministry of Information, Parliament and intelligence to prepare counter-propaganda campaign against India and to design and promote a media strategy for continually highlighting the Kashmir issue.
The committee had also called for regular special briefings of foreign journalists for publicising the Jammu and Kashmir issue and had directed Pakistani officials to indulge in a “comprehensive outreach” exercise to those in India who are opposed to “Modi’s extremism and his anti-Pakistan policies, including political parties, media, civil society organisations and human rights groups”.