The UN has finally refused recognition to Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai’s ISI-funded Kashmiri American Council (KAC), handing India a small but significant diplomatic victory.
The council applied for recognition as a UN consultative non-government organisation — a status coveted for the clout and funding it brings — 13 years ago in 1999. KAC, which was also known as the Kashmir Center, was founded by Fai in 1990, headquartered in Washington DC. There were two other KACs -- in London and Brussels. The body described itself as a non-profit organisation that highlighted the struggle of Kashmiri people for self-determination in India.
The FBI charged Fai in July 2011 acting on behalf of the Pakistani government and receiving funding from the ISI. He has since has pleaded guilty to the charges. This, of course, was not known back when Fai sought the status of a consultative organisation from the US. India knew, several media reports appeared about Fai’s Pakistani connections.
But KAC’s application had powerful backers then. The US, for one. “Having the backing of the host country,” an Indian official said, “Fai’s application was hard to beat or ignore.” India chose the path of stealth. It stalled recognition by raising questions about KAC, which would come back with an answer only to return with more questions.
It was important for India to deny a stridently anti-Kashmir body such as the KAC the status of a consultative body for the UN. Fai was already a nuisance. He had wrangled himself a standing invitation to attend annual meetings of the Organisation of Islamic Countries, and had used the platform to lobby hard against India. India didn’t want him there at the UN’s doorstep too.