A new report published by Disinfo Lab uncovers damning links between US/UK based ‘Kashmiri activists’, who are feathering their nest through keeping the Kashmir pot boiling, with Pakistan’s notorious intelligence agency ISI. The report also details the links between such dubious activists and the Biden administration in the United States.
Since India tightened its FCRA regulations in 2015-2016, thereby making it difficult for the rabble-rousers to continue sowing discord in Jammu and Kashmir, a renewed attempt is being made to transfer the ‘family business’ of continuing to inflame tensions in the state to the next generation with the help from the Pakistani establishment, anti-India activists, ISI stooges and vested interests.
In their attempt to continue peddling propaganda on Kashmir, several white experts/activists have been roped in that harbor critical view of India’s ‘failings’. These include usual suspects—CJ Werleman, Audrey Truschke, Haley, McIntyre, and organizations like Polis Project, Equality Labs, KKRF, etc, as per the Disinfo Lab report.
The attempt to internationalize the Jammu and Kashmir issue can be gauged from the fact that in the United Kingdom alone, there have been more than 6 new organizations registered by just one person—Muzammil Thakur—the ‘new age’ Kashmiri activist as the report mentions.
It is worth noting that while Thakur portrays himself as a ‘Kashmiri activist’, he was born in Saudi Arabia and lived in London. His interest in pursuing Kashmiri activism was piqued by his marriage to Shaista Safi, daughter of Ghulam Safi, a Hurriyat convenor who was removed by Geelani for corruption. Shaista is a lobbyist at YFK.
The report says Muzammil has divergent views on Kashmir, based on his audience. For the Pakistanis, Muzammil passionately argues for Kashmir being a part of Pakistan. However, for the international audience, he talks about ‘independent Kashmir’.
However, Muzammil is not the only ‘new age’ Kashmiri activist who is engaged in propagating anti-India narrative on Jammu and Kashmir. Several other dubious characters have also assumed the mantle of keeping Kashmir in flux by their kins, including Hafsa Kanjwal, Sameera Fazili, and Ather Zia, all of whom live either in the United States or the United Kingdom.
The report sheds light on a particularly nefarious and interlinked nexus involving the so-called Kashmiri activists, their relatives who serve as important members of suspicious anti-India organizations, dubious individuals, and a convicted ISI operative.
The dubious nexus between ‘Kashmiri’ activists, ISI operatives and anti-India organisations
Kanjwal is co-founder of suspicious organization Stand with Kashmir, which describes itself as a “Kashmiri diaspora-driven independent global citizen grassroots group committed to standing in solidarity with the people of Kashmir in ending the occupation and supporting their right to self-determination.”
In the past, StandWithKashmir has supported terrorists such as Yasin Malik who has ties with the LeT, Riyaz Naikoo, a senior commander of the Hizbul Mujahideen who was eliminated by security forces. SWK also calls Asiya Andrabi a ‘sociopolitical activist’ despite her known links to terrorists.
One of the founders on the document of Stand with Kashmir is Sehla Ashai, a relative of Tony Ashai, who in turn is considered to be a close aide to Pakistan PM Imran Khan and who was recently awarded the Namal Project Contract by the Khan administration.
Another founder on the document of SWK is one Aejaz Dar, son of Akram Dar, who serves as the Director of Kashmiri American Council, a murky organization founded by convicted ISI agent Ghulam Nabi Fai that indulges in lobbying for Kashmiri separatism. Hafsa Kanjwal, the co-founder of Stand with Kashmir was often seen with Ghulam Nabi Fai since 2006, leaving no doubt about the ISI involvement in running and managing SWK. Fai was arrested by the FBI in 2011 and released in 2013, kept low profile till 2015-16, after which he was rehabilitated by Pakistan PM Imran Khan and FM Qureshi, the report says.
It is notable to mention that Thakur’s father was a close friend of convicted ISI agent Ghulam Nabi Fai, who played a pivotal role in settling Thakur first in Saudi Arabia and then in the United Kingdom.
SWK’s ties with the Biden administration
Intriguingly enough, a member of the SWK is a member of the Joe Biden administration. Sameera Fazili of Kashmiri origin works as the Deputy Director of the National Economic Council. She is also Hafsa Kanjwal’s cousin and had worked as Ex Media Coordinator of SWK.
Fazili is also the daughter of another suspicious character, Yousuf Fazili, who also serves as one of the Directors of the ISI-linked Kashmiri American Council.
These activists reportedly set up organizations such as Stand with Kashmir, Justice For Kashmir, Friends of Kashmir, Free Kashmir, Americans of Kashmir and other such organisations. They host webinars, social media campaigns and other media activities to continue peddling venom against India and challenge its sovereignty over Jammu and Kashmir. They are then amplified by an organised syndicate, the report states.
The close association between various anti-India organisations and the new-age ‘Kashmiri’ activists
The report further states that SWK was simply a ‘facelift’ version of Justice For Kashmir, whose first follower and promoter on Twitter was Muzammil Thakur, thereby demonstrating the interconnection between various so-called Kashmir activists. It is their modus operandi to use one anti-India organisation to bankroll and support other such organisations.
For instance, Friends of Kashmir is set up by Ghazala Khan, who is also associated with Kashmir Khalistan Referendum Front(KKRF), along with Gurpatwant Pannun, from Sikhs For Justice(SFJ), a Pakistani product.
Friends of Kashmir— DisInfo Lab (@DisinfoLab) August 3, 2021
Another activism shop set up by Ghazala H. Khan who is associated with Kashmir Khalistan Referendum Front (KKRF), alongside Gurpatwant Pannun, from Sikhs for Justice, a Pakistani product. FoK also has links wid IHF, run by Sajjad Burki, President PTI USA.
Aejaz Dar, one of the founders of the document of SWK, is the founder of Americans For Kashmir, a US-based organization that, although claims to stand for independent Kashmir, surreptitiously supports Pakistan’s claim on Jammu and Kashmir.
Apparently, these next-gen ‘Kashmiri’ activists are progenies of the yesteryear-generation activists, groomed in some of the best US institutes, but are either not related to Kashmir or have no thorough understanding of the intricacies accompanying the issue.
US politicians working at the behest of Pakistan to influence policy decisions on Jammu and Kashmir
Additionally, the report also highlights the involvement of CIA operatives in doing the bidding for their Pakistani masters in promoting propaganda on Kashmir. Lobbyists hired by Pakistan to influence US policy on Kashmir include CIA station chief in Islamabad Robert Grenier. Earlier, another CIA operative Robin Raphel had grabbed a contract worth $1.5 million for lobby firm Cassidy and Ass.
US Politicians— DisInfo Lab (@DisinfoLab) August 3, 2021
Pak hires US lobbying firms with millions of $ to buy ‘concerns’ over Kashmir. Pramila Jayapal has expressed such concerns b/w June-Dec 2019, and introduced a resolution on Kashmir in Dec 2019.
Even US politicians are working at the behest of Pakistan in spreading the anti-India narrative on Kashmir. The money funneled to the US lobbying firms by Pakistan inevitably finds its way to the US politicians, who then express ‘concern’ over India’s rule in Jammu and Kashmir. Rep. Pramila Jayapal had expressed similar ‘concerns’ between June-December 2019 and introduced a resolution on Kashmir in December 2019.