By Chidanand Rajghatta
Federal authorities arrested (then the court released on bail) a prominent US-based pro-Pakistan activist associated
with the Kashmiri separatist movement, accusing him of funneling money from the Pakistani spy agency ISI to lobby US decision-makers.
In the process, the Obama administration's law enforcement
brigade also blew open the Pakistan and its spy agency's two-decade long subversion of the so-called Kashmir cause.
The FBI swooped down on the Virginia residence of Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai, a well-known
representative of Kashmiri separatists in the US and detained him on charges of "'participating in a long-term conspiracy
to act as agents of the Pakistani government in the United States without disclosing their affiliation with the Pakistani
government as required by law."
Or simply put, he served
as a frontman for ISI's Kashmir agenda.
Zaheer Ahmed, like Fai a US citizen, was also similarly charged, but he is at large and believed to be in Pakistan, according
to US authorities.
Fai has been a familiar and prominent figure
in Washington DC for nearly two decades, lobbying Kashmiri separatist cause as Executive Director of the Kashmiri-American
Council (KAC) and dallying with Senators and Congressmen. US authorities now say the KAC was just an ISI front, funded by
Pakistan's spy agency.
The FBI affidavit alleges that, although
the KAC held itself out to be a Kashmiri organization run by Kashmiris and financed by Americans, "'it is one of three
'Kashmir Centers' that are actually run by elements of the Pakistani government, including ISI."' The two other Kashmir
Centers are in London, England, and Brussels, Belgium.
to the affidavit, a confidential witness told investigators that he participated in a scheme to obscure the origin of money
transferred by Pakistan's ISI to Fai to use as a lobbyist for the KAC in furtherance of Pakistani government interests. The
witness explained that the money was transferred to Fai through Ahmad, an American living in Pakistan.
A second confidential witness told investigators that the "'ISI created the
KAC to propagandize on behalf of the government of Pakistan with the goal of uniting Kashmir." This witness said "ISI's
sponsorship and control of KAC were secret and that ISI had been directing Fai's activities for the past 25 years."
The FBI affidavit alleges that Fai has "acted at the direction of and with
the financial support of the Pakistani government for more than 20 years." Four Pakistani government handlers have directed
Fai's US. activities and Fai has been in touch with his handlers more than 4,000 times since June 2008, according to the FBI.
The affidavit also alleges that Fai repeatedly submitted annual
KAC strategy reports and budgetary requirements to his Pakistani government handlers for approval. One document entitled "Plan
of Action of KAC / Kashmir Center for Fiscal Year 2009" laid out Fai's intended strategy to secure US Congressional support
in order to encourage the Executive Branch to support self-determination in Kashmir; his strategy to build new alliances in
the State Department, the National Security Council, the Congress and the Pentagon, and to expand KAC's media efforts.
According to the affidavit, Fai also set forth KAC's projected budgetary requirements
from the Pakistani government for 2009, including $100,000 for contributions to members of Congress.
Fai and the KAC have received at least $4 million from the Pakistani government since the mid-1990s through Ahmad
and his funding network, the FBI said. The money is allegedly routed to Fai through Ahmad and a network of other individuals
connected to Ahmad. Ahmad allegedly arranges for his contacts in the United States to provide money to Fai in return for repayment
of those amounts in Pakistan.
[Rajghatta wrote this report
for the Times of India.]