Fai arrest: Another low in US-Pak ties
The FBI's arrest of alleged ISI agent Ghulam Nabi Fai is being viewed in India as another instance of deteriorating ties between the US and the Pakistan security establishment, including the ISI - its powerful military spy agency.delhi Updated: Jul 22, 2011 00:34 IST
The FBI's arrest of alleged ISI agent Ghulam Nabi Fai is being viewed in India as another instance of deteriorating ties between the US and the Pakistan security establishment, including the ISI - its powerful military spy agency.
Fai, 62, was arrested Tuesday on the charges of acting as a ISI agent in the US without disclosing his affiliation with the Pakistani government as required by American law.
He and Zaheer Ahmad, 63, a US citizen and resident of Pakistan, have been accused of illegally funneling millions of dollars to influence US's policy on Kashmir.
The Pakistan foreign office on Thursday issued a statement, appreciating Fai's contribution to the "cause of Jammu and Kashmir". It also said a demarche had been issued to the US embassy, over "the slander campaign against Pakistan".
New Delhi sees Fai's arrest as tit-for-tat - the ISI has not released Dr Shakil Afridi picked up for helping the CIA to hunt Osama bin Laden.
Afridi had staged a vaccination programme in Abbottabad to help the CIA get the DNA samples of the children of the al Qaeda chief to verify his identity.
The US requested Afridi's release, but was told by Pakistan that it was acting against its citizen who had worked for a foreign spy agency. The FBI arrested Fai, a US citizen, on charges of acting at the behest of the ISI.
The incident also shows that ISI chief Ahmad Shuja Pasha's recent visit to the US failed to stem the downturn in the relations between the two sides US, say sources.
The fact that Fai's arrest was announced when US secretary of state Hillary Clinton was visiting India has also not gone unnoticed in New Delhi.
Fai used to orgainse seminars on Kashmir that were attended by some Indian liberals as well. Some of them were advised against such gatherings, but they ignored it, said sources.
New Delhi knew of many instances when Fai's conferences in Washington were bankrolled by the Pakistan embassy there.
According to sources, a senior government functionary, too, got an invite from Fai's Kashmiri American Council (KAC) centre in Brussels through a British politician. But when his enquires showed that the centre was an ISI shop, he declined the invite.
The FBI said in its affidavit that KAC activities were largely financed by the ISI.
Fai's arrest has many worried in the Valley. Some senior Hurriyat Conference leaders are known to have links with Fai, who was born in Kashmir. He is director of the KAC, also known as the Kashmir Centre, founded in 1990.
KAC describes itself as a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to increase awareness about 'Kashmiri struggle for self-determination' in the US. It also has centres in London and Brussels.
New Delhi sees Fai's arrest and the Raymond Davis row as signs of growing chasm in the US and the Pakistani ties. Davis, a US consulate employee in Lahore, was arrested after he killed two Pakistanis in self-defence.
His arrest blew into a full-fledged diplomatic row that ended when he was released after paying blood money to the families of the two men.
With inputs from Islamabad
First Published: Jul 22, 2011 00:29 IST