US-based Kashmiri separatist leader Ghulam Nabi Fai, who was arrested in 2011 by the FBI on charges of receiving funds ‘illegally’ from ISI to the tune of $4 million to tilt US Congressmen opinion on Kashmir, sees hope in the recent meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in New Delhi.
“The meeting offers hope for peace in South Asia if the course of justice is followed and both leaders undertake to abide by their international commitments," Fai, who is secretary general, World Kashmir Awareness, told a gathering at Baltimore Convention Center on Thursday.
Fai's favourable tune on Indo-Pakistan relations reflects growing acceptability of Modi to engage in a fruitful dialogue process. Moderate Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, a friend of Fai, also welcomed the talks. Only hardline Syed Ali Shah Geelani had opposed it.
Commenting on the Modi-Sharif talks, Fai said, "The change reflects only partly the warm, spontaneous exchanges at the popular level, which have blown away the perverse thesis that hostility between the sides is innate and can never be eradicated. It is a fact that peace, amity, and harmony between India and Pakistan will open vistas of opportunities to shift resources to domestic development.”
Warning that Kashmir issue could turn into a nuclear flash point between the two countries, Fai said, “It is also a fact that the nuclear capabilities of the South Asian nations heighten their responsibility to avoid conflict that could conclude with a gruesome mushroom cloud. The persistence of Kashmir problem has been a source of weakness for both India and Pakistan.”
In 2011, Washington-based Fai hit the global headlines when he was arrested in July after the FBI charged him of violating US law that requires lobbyists for foreign countries to register with the Justice Department. A US court sentenced him to 24 months of imprisonment for the same. Fai is accused of tilting US parliamentarians’ opinion in favour of Kashmir separatists.
However, released from the house detention, Fai has in the recent past starting opinion building on Kashmir again. "Both prime Ministers should understand that any attempt to strike a deal between two without the association of the third, will fail to yield a credible settlement," he said.
Fai recently suggested a six-point agenda to resolve Kashmir issue. "There has to be a cease-fire from all sides during negotiations. Negotiations cannot be carried out at a time when parties are killing each other. Talks must be tripartite between India, Pakistan and genuine leadership of the people of Kashmir. There cannot be and should not be any condition from any party, other than commitment to non-violence and to negotiations," said Fai, wielding significant support from moderate as well as hardline separatists in the valley.
Fai also suggested certain names as third party facilitators, which include could be Nobel Laureate, Bishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa or Dr Kofi Annan of Ghana or Mr. Kjell Magne Bondevik, former Prime Minister of Norway or Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and former UN High Commissioner on Human Rights.