Fai tried Indian connections to escape American sentence

ISI’s KAC chief told Virginia court that a UPA Minister was in touch with him before arrest
Excelsior Special Correspondent
JAMMU, Apr 9: ISI-sponsored Kashmiri American Council (KAC) founder-chairman, Sayyid Ghulam Nabi Fai, had made a sensational disclosure in his last-ditch effort to escape punishment in the district court of Fairfax in Virginia. He made unsuccessful attempts to project himself as a champion of the “Kashmiri freedom movement” and a “peace broker” between India and Pakistan. During this attempt, he claimed before court that a Cabinet Minister of Dr Manmohan Singh’s UPA-II Government had met with him days before he was arrested in July 2011.  According to sources closely watching the court proceedings in Virginia, Fai made every possible attempt to claim that he was a “peace broker” between New Delhi and Islamabad, as also a “Kashmir freedom activist” rather than being ISI’s agent to promote Pakistan’s strategy on the Kashmir issue. He, however, failed to convince the judge. The judge even trashed ‘certificates’ issued by Indian nationals, including some prominent intellectuals, with the observation that this operation too had been engineered and executed on behalf of ISI. During the course of proceedings, Fai claimed that he had remained “closely associated” with the Indian intelligentsia and the establishment in his attempts of enforcing ceasefire between the Indian security forces and the Kashmiri militants in the year 2000. He claimed that he had remained in touch with then NDA head and Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee through his National Security Advisor Brajesh Mishra and a New-Delhi based journalist, namely R K Mishra. He claimed that on the other side, he was in a liaison with the Hizbul Mujahideen chief, Syed Salah-ud-din, and some of Kashmir’s radical separatist leaders like Syed Ali Shah Geelani.  Apart from working together for over a decade for Jamaat-e-Islami, Fai and Salah-ud-din were both residents of Soibug village in Budgam district. However, the ceasefire announced by senior Hizbul functionary, late Abdul Majid Dar, on July 24, 2000, proved to be shortlived when Salah-ud-din announced its withdrawal in a dramatic development within 12 days in a press conference at Hotel Holiday Inn in Islamabad.  Fai’s most sensational disclosure came in his claim that a cabinet Minister of Dr Manmohan Singh’s Government was “in touch” with him and had met with him just days before Fai was arrested near the American capital in July 2011. Sources said Fai neither identified the Minister nor the venue of the “secret meeting”. Even the judge, according to sources, showed no keenness to enquire about the identity of the Indian Minister or his purported meeting with Fai. The judge, according to sources who are Kashmiri Muslims settled in USA, remained adamant that defendant Fai had been operating strictly according to the brief given to him by ISI and against the money provided by the Pakistani intelligence agency. Insignificant financial contributions made to a number of American political leaders, including former President Bill Clinton and incumbent President Barrack Obama, during their election campaigns, were dismissed as part of ISI’s strategy to influence the Senators, Congressmen and heads of the state on Islamabad’s stand on Kashmir. Unconfirmed reports said that Fai even referred to a meeting with one of former Chief Ministers of Jammu and Kashmir about a decade ago but it was not confirmed by the sources present in crucial sessions of the hearing. Surprisingly, those roped in by ISI to project Fai as a “Kashmiri rights activist” through their barrage of letters to the judge, included some officials of the Omar Abdullah government. One of them, a lady professor in Department of English at University of Kashmir, has written a strongly-worded letter to the judge, claiming therein that Dr Fai had been fighting for the cause of Kashmir’s freedom from India and, thus, deserved, treatment of a freedom fighter. Interestingly, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah happens to be the Pro Chancellor and Governor N N Vohra as Chancellor of the University of Kashmir.  This teacher is reportedly the wife of a radical separatist leader. She has never hesitated in attending all of Fai’s ISI-sponsored conferences in USA, Pakistan and other countries and has also strongly advocated the cause of Kashmir’s separation from India on different television channels of India and foreign countries. Listed among Fai’s beneficiaries, she is said to have acquired an expensive house in a posh locality of Hyderpora earlier this year.  Sources in the Indian establishment insist that a retired engineer, Jitender Bakhshi, was among some non-Muslims ISI wanted to attend Fai’s international conferences to mislead the Americans that KAC was pursuing a secular agenda. He was roped in by a senior journalist and Jammu-based editor. Even the draft of a resolution at a conference in 2010 was drafted by Bakhshi alongwith the Jammu editor and a Srinagar-based columnist Ghulam Mohammad Zahid. Even in 2011, Fai, on behalf of ISI, had financially supported a conference organized by Muzaffarabad University. A number of ‘intellectuals’ and journalists from Srinagar and Jammu had participated in the conference held in last week of April 2011. Even after “adverse field reports”, CID of J&K Government had chosen to remain a mute spectator to this activity. Sources said that a recently constituted Special Investigation Team, headed by SSP Budgam Uttam Chand, would thoroughly investigate, in close coordination with IB, RAW, NIA and Enforcement Directorate, whether ISI’s contribution to J&K-based media publications had remained restricted to buying opinion pieces of the journalists or it had also gone to providing substantial funding to newspapers and news agencies.