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HindustanTimes Sat,12 Jul 2014

World

ISI activists’ arrest in US seen as tit-for-tat
Imtiaz Ahmad and Yashwant Raj, Hindustan Times
Islamabad, July 20, 2011
First Published: 23:32 IST(20/7/2011)
Last Updated: 01:37 IST(21/7/2011)

The arrest of Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai, a known Kashmiri activist, in the United States is being seen in Pakistan as a reply to a crackdown launched by the Pakistan military on CIA operatives in the country.

While official line of the Pakistan government has been that Fai is an Indian national who lives in exile in the U.S, privately officials in Pakistan say that Fai has been working at the behest of the Pakistan government since he fled from India in 1980.

Two men were on Tuesday charged with running an organisation to raise issues about Kashmir in the U.S., funded http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/HTEditImages/Images/21_07_pg15a.jpgsecretly by the Pakistani government including the army’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI).

Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai, 62, is a U.S. citizen and resident of Fairfax, Virginia, and he was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation on Tuesday.

The second man, Zaheer Ahmad, 63, is also a US citizen but lives in Pakistan. He is at large.

If convicted, both face a sentence of five years in prison.

Their crime: they did not register themselves with the attorney general as agents of a foreign government, and concealed facts about their funding and operation from the authorities in the U.S.

Fai’s outfit is called Kashmir American Council and it is based in Washington DC and it describes itself as a “not-for-profit organisation dedicated to raising the level of knowledge in the U.S. about the struggle of the Kashmiri people for self-determination.”

An official who asked not to be named said that timing of the arrest is important.

“The visit of Hillary Clinton to India coincides with the arrest of Fai. It comes some days after a damage control visit by ISI chief General Shuja Pasha to the US,” he commented.

Shaheen Sehbai, the group editor of The News, a national English language daily, said that while the Pakistan wants to distance itself from the arrest, it is unclear how the country’s intelligence agencies will react to this move by the US

However, despite the public distancing, officials in Islamabad do not deny that there was a link between Fai and Pakistani funding, much of it funneled through at the behest of the ISI.


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