Scribes, Mirwaiz, leaders may be quizzed for Fai links

Scribes, Mirwaiz, leaders may be quizzed for Fai links

20 July 2011
The Daily Excelsior


NEW DELHI-SRINAGAR: Security agencies may soon question human rights activists, a Kashmiri separatist leader and journalists who allegedly enjoyed hospitality of Ghulam Nabi Fai arrested in America on charges of being an outfit of Pakistan's ISI. Government is likely to give a green signal to their quizzing after the examination of the affidavit submitted by Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in a US court. Sources in the Home Ministry said the affidavit is being examined and a decision to question Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who had been attending various seminars organised by Fai with the latest one being this year, may be the first one to be examined. Welcoming the arrest of 62-year old Fai by the US authorities, Home Ministry officials said 'heat' of this development would soon be felt by the Kashmiri separatists. A resident of Wadwan, Soibug in Budgam in Cenral Kashmir, Fai had migrated out of country in early eighties after he found no-takers for his separatist ideas. Sources in the Ministry said some journalists were also taken to the US for attending the seminars hosted by him. It has come to light in the affidavit submitted by FBI that these seminars were funded by ISI and Fai's Kashmir-American Council acting as front of the Pakistan's snooping agency. Among those who travelled on Fai's invitation included Interlocutor on Jammu and Kashmir and senior journalist Dileep Padgaonkar. When contacted, Padgaonkar said he did travel on Fai's invitation but that was a long time back and he did not have faintest of idea about his affiliations with ISI as 'Google was not available then.' Efforts to contact the Mirwaiz did not fructify as he had put his phone on divert and the receiver who took the call said the leader had gone out and would return late. However, according to sources in J-K Police, he was present at his home and is expected to make a statement tomorrow. A prominent media house in Jammu has also come under the scanner as its owner had attended almost every seminar hosted by Fai, Home Ministry sources said here. In Srinagar, police chief today said Ghulam Nabi Fai has figured in several cases in the State in the past. 'He has been figuring in lots of things in the past, like what US has already conveyed, the diversion of ISI funds for anti-national activities in India and particularly in State,' Director General of Police Kuldeep Khoda told reporters. The DGP was here during an investiture ceremony at Armed Police Complex at Zewan. Asked if the police will push for Fai's extradition, Khoda said 'let the things get cleared, there are lots of things. We may follow them up.' The police chief said there was 'lots of material' against 62-year-old Fai, which needed to be scrutinised on the basis of which action will be taken. Khoda said they will wait for the outcome of Fai's 'custodial interrogation' by the American agencies before further action. Meanwhile, Hardline Hurriyat Conference chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani today slammed Kashmir lobbyist Ghulam Nabi Fai's arrest in the US, saying it was unjustified and also alleged that it carried out at New Delhi’s behest to weaken the movement in Jammu and Kashmir. 'The arrest of Executive Director of Kashmir American Council (Fai) is unjustified. It has been done at the behest of India and under a conspiracy to weaken the movement of Kashmiris at diplomatic level,' Geelani said in a statement here. Geelani called for peaceful protests against the arrest after Friday prayers this week and urged the people of Kashmiri origin living in Pakistan and other countries of the world to join in the protests. 'If Fai is not released immediately, people of Kashmir will be forced to conclude that international community has no sympathy with the oppressed people and are instead taking sides with the oppressors,' he added. Meanwhile, in Washington Kashmiri separatist leader Ghulam Nabi Fai, arrested for allegedly funnelling ISI's USD 4 million for clandestinely trying to influence the US policy on Kashmir, had four 'handlers' in the Pakistani spy agency and he had contacted them over 4,000 times since June 2008. This was disclosed by the FBI in documents filed in a court in Alexandria, where 62-year-old Fai, a US citizen, was produced soon after his arrest from his home in Fairfax, Virginia, yesterday. Fai, Director of the Kashmiri American Council (KAC) - a Washington-based group that lobbies for 'self-determination' for Kashmir, faces up to five years in prison if proved guilty. His next court hearing is scheduled for tomorrow. Identifying Fai's four handlers in ISI, the FBI made public their phone numbers and emails addresses. Fai's alleged handlers in Pakistan were identified as Abdullah; Javeed Aziz Khan aka 'Rathore'; Abdullah aka 'Nizami Mir'; and Touqeer Mehmood Butt aka Sohail Mahmood, who goes by the nickname 'Mir'. Since June 2008, Fai contacted them more than 4,000 times till his arrest. Between 2006 and early 2011, Javeed Aziz Khan contacted Fai for nearly 2,000 times, the FBI said in a 43-page affidavit. It said Brigadier Abdullah was the ISI officer responsible for handling Kashmir affairs. Fai acted at the direction of his handlers from ISI, court documents said. In the course of executing the searches, investigators found the '1999 Strategy Document for the Kashmiri American Council, Washington, DC USA' and documents with similar titles for 2000, 2001, 2005 and 2006. These documents described the Kashmiri American Council's plans to provide information to Executive Branch officials, use Congress to highlight the issue of Kashmir, offset the Indian lobby and increase political pressure on both the US administration and Government of India. Fai provided similar documents to his handlers in 2008 and 2009, the FBI said. Court-authorised physical searches of Fai's residence and storage facility revealed 22 letters written by him to Zaheer Ahmad, another US citizen charged along with Fai, on a near-monthly basis between December 2003 and April 2006. Those letters contained balance sheets accounting for the money Fai had received to date during that fiscal year, the identity of the individuals who had sent him the money and how much, and the amount Ahmad still needed to send to Fai. They reflected that Ahmad was to transmit approximately USD 314,500 to Fai in 2003; in 2004, 2005, and 2006, the totals were USD 505,000, USD 525,000 and USD 447,000, respectively. According to the FBI estimate, the total amount transmitted from the Government of Pakistan through Ahmad and his funding network to Fai and the KAC since the mid-1990s atleast USD 4 million. The affidavit also said that up to 80 per cent of the public statements made by Fai were provided by the Pakistani spy agency to 'repeat and disseminate verbatim.' 'The other 20 per cent of the KAC's messaging consists of Fai's own ideas, which have been pre-approved by the ISI but not provided by them,' it said. According to court documents, a confidential witness told the FBI the ISI selected Fai because he had no overt ties to Pakistan. (PTI)  


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