Fai’s conviction a major setback for separatist movement

Excelsior Special Correspondent
JAMMU, Apr 16: Those seeking extradition of the Washington D.C-based Kashmiri American Council (KAC) founder, Sayyid Ghulam Nabi Fai, are clearly doing a disservice to the nation they claim to be serving. This 1,000 million-strong nation is under little illusion as the administration of justice in India has proved to be an advantage for anybody seeking to destabilize this country’s sovereignty and integrity. Generations have seen how all the icons of rebellion in this country have built their strengths more on the weaknesses of a democratic set up than the masses they claim to be their followers.
For Fai, staying as a citizen of the United States of America had its advantages as well as disadvantages. Coming from a strong Jamaat-e-Islami background, his intimate relationships with Students Islamic Movement of India, Rabita Aalam-e-Islami and Motamar-e-Aalam-e-Islami made him the strongest contender for ISI’s Kashmir franchise in America. For years, he enjoyed monopoly in “representation of the Kashmir cause” from America to Europe. It was years later that he got a European counterpart in the form of Dr Ayyub Thakur, who settled and operated in London. Men like ‘Barrister’ Abdul Majid Tramboo and Nazir Shawl joined the caucus much later.
All that Government of India could assert against this brazenly ISI-sponsored axis was that Fai was booked in a minor offence under Public Safety Act (PSA). The warrant was never executed in the last 32 years. Interestingly, the man who deserted his ordinary Kashmiri wife without even divorcing her and settled with a new Chinese spouse in Virginia, emerged as Kashmir’s strongest ‘human rights activist’ overseas.
There are credible media reports that two of J&K’s Ministers of Tourism enjoyed hospitality of Mr and Mrs Shawl in London and even facilitated Mrs Shawl’s visit to the Valley. Police records suggest there are no FIRs against late Dr Thakur, Shawl or Tramboo. It is this group of activists that kept the Kashmir pot boiling with ISI’s money everywhere from Europe to America. None of the successive governments, either in New Delhi or in Srinagar, did ever initiate an action against these operators of so-called Kashmir Centres of London and Brussels. Neither the Indian High Commission in London nor the Indian Embassy in Washington D.C. did ever issue a statement, let alone initiating a diplomatic procedure against late Thakur or Fai. It was decades later that Fai first realized the disadvantage of living in USA. Nobody, however influential, could save him from the conviction a district court pronounced on him last fortnight.
Had the KAC supremo stayed in J&K or New Delhi, he would have grown like hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani and others of the ilk did over the decades. Firstly, there would have been no prosecution. Even if there was one, there would have been no Thana Munshi to record evidences against him, no Investigating Officer to interrogate him, no Public Prosecutors to push his offence for conviction and no judge to send him to jail. He would have come clean of all charges, if any ever leveled against him. Not only that. National Conference and PDP would have been vying with each other to earn his good will and blessings and an ‘elected separatist’ from Kupwara district would have threatened self-immolation on implementation of the judgment, if one came by mistake against him.
Much like his protector-crusader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Fai would have been enjoying the status of a Chief Minister with the Government providing him bulletproof cars, hordes of personal security officers, house guards and escort personnel. He would have been taking pride in telling fellow villagers of Soibug that the Government had been spending on his security more money than his entire residential belt in Budgam had paid as electricity fee for a year. On his minor ailment, helicopters burning taxpayers’ money as fuel would have flown him to the country’s best hospitals to get him the kind of treatment Manmohan Singh and Atal Behari Vajpayee are entitled to.
Had he decided to also earn some money as Professor at University of Kashmir, he would have been preaching separatism as comfortably as another of his saviour-crusader, Dr Hameeda Nayeem, has been since 1990. Like her, he would have visited the entire world and spewed more venom against India than he did while staying in USA. Had he chosen to function as a journalist like yet another of his saviours in Jammu, he would have been rubbing shoulders with Governors, Chief Ministers and Ministers in the Union Cabinet and hurled more virulent invectives on the “terror state” like Vedji, Gautam Navlakha and Arundhati Roy. He would have been appearing on the Indian television channels and singing songs for Azadi and Pakistan. Money would have been uninterruptedly flowing to him from Pakistan and other foreign countries and he would have been running enviable businesses in Dubai like his luckier Valley-based colleagues. But, his bad luck was that he chose to live in America—the country that never compromises insult to its law.
While almost all of Kashmir’s separatist leaders are enjoying the best of freedom in globetrotting at their will—deciding what country they should visit when, where they should pursue a Ph D and where they should set up a business— poor Fai is going to languish in an American jail for the next two years. Notwithstanding their letters to the Virginia judge in Fai’s support, they are now complaining privately that the “poor Jamaat guy” has discredited entire separatist movement by getting himself labeled as “ISI’s agent promoting Pakistan’s policy on Kashmir” . This really serves as an unprecedented setback for the cause they call ‘azadi’.


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