FBI arrests US man running Kashmir outfit funded by ISI
Two men were today charged with running an organistion that raises issues about Kashmir in the US and is funded secretly by the Pakistani government including the army's Inter Services Intelligence (ISI).world Updated: Jul 19, 2011 23:23 IST
Two men were on Tuesday charged with running an organistion that raises issues about Kashmir in the US and is funded secretly by the Pakistani government including the army's Inter Services Intelligence (ISI).
Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai, 62, a US citizen and resident of Fairfax, Virginia, 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, is at large.
Both face a potential sentence of five years in prison if convicted.
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 US.
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 US about the struggle of the Kashmiri people for self-determination."
"FARA is designed to ensure that the US government and American public know the underlying source of information and identity of persons attempting to influence US policy and laws. The defendants are accused of thwarting this process by concealing the fact that a foreign government was funding and directing their lobbying and public relations efforts in America," said assistant attorney general Lisa Monaco, in a statement issued by the department of justice.
"Fai is accused of a decades-long scheme with one purpose - to hide Pakistan's involvement behind his efforts to influence the US government's position on Kashmir," said US attorney Neil MacBride.
"His handlers in Pakistan allegedly funneled millions through the Kashmir Center to contribute to US elected officials, fund high-profile conferences, and pay for other efforts that promoted the Kashmiri cause to decision-makers in Washington."
Pakistani intelligence agencies provided funds to Fai - so far $ 4 millions - through the hawala network with the help of Ahmad.
An affidavit filed by the FBI in support of the charges said the KAC is one of three "Kashmir Centers" run by elements of the Pakistani government, including Pakistan's military intelligence service, the ISI.
The two other Kashmir Centers are in London, England, and Brussels, Belgium.