FBI-ISI-Fai and the UPA
by Sandhya Jain on 02 Aug 2011 39 Comments
America’s startling political decision to arrest US citizen cum ISI lobbyist Ghulam Nabi Fai last month, while Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was in India, follows a string of continuing face-offs between the two countries and suggests that Washington may have decided to dismount the Pakistani tiger. Tensions peaked with Islamabad closing NATO supply routes to Afghanistan; the arrest of CIA agent Raymond Davis and subsequent expulsion of many CIA agents from Pakistan; the May Day midnight murder of Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad; and the continuing Drone attacks on the western frontier, which ISI chief Shuja Pasha’s fence-mending visit to Washington could not fix.


New Delhi’s muted reaction is understandable. Fai’s arrest exposes UPA appointees, Justice (retd.) Rajinder Sachar and journalist Dileep Padgaonkar, for hobnobbing with ISI and other anti-India agents abroad and later accepting positions to empower the Muslim minority and Kashmiri separatists respectively, at the cost of the Hindu community and the nation. This raises larger questions regarding the reasons why the Union Government found jobs for persons with anti-India and anti-Hindu proclivities, and why the nation should accept their so-called reports which stand tainted by association.


Going by Washington’s revelations, Islamabad covertly funnelled over $4 million to Fai’s Kashmiri American Council over two decades, to influence American and international opinion against India’s claim to Kashmir. The FBI’s main charge is that Fai and his associate Zaheer Ahmed failed to register with the Justice Department as Pakistan lobbyists. Of course, Washington knew this and was monitoring the duo for many years; it refrained from acting against them while Pakistan was perceived as useful in the war against terrorism. Now, the knives are out; hence the naming of Fai's handlers, viz., Maj. Gen. Mumtaz Ahmad Bajwa; Brig. Javed Aziz Khan, Brig. Sohail Mehmood, Lt. Col. Tauqeer Butt and a man codenamed ‘Abdullah’.


Fai’s job included getting Pakistani and Indian eminences to attend conferences on India’s human rights violations in Kashmir, and escorting men like Mirwaiz to meet White House staff. Recently, Mirwaiz Farooq and Hurriyat leader S.A.S. Geelani met Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar at the embassy in New Delhi, on the eve of talks with her Indian counterpart Mr S.M. Krishna, a move which reduced the official talks to a formality.


Fai’s Indian friend, Justice Rajinder Sachar, was in 2005 appointed by the UPA to head a high powered committee with a mandate to ‘prove’ the backwardness of the Indian Muslim community, and attribute this alleged backwardness to ‘institutional discrimination’ at social, political and economic levels. Though completely lacking empirical data, Mr Sachar strove to entrench a Muslim communal identity in India by pressing for an ‘Equal Opportunity Commission’ and paving the way for unmanageable communal discord.


The Union Ministry of Minority Affairs, egged on by the National Minorities Commission, is working overtime to secure for Muslims an undeclared religion-based reservation in the public and private sectors. Mr Salman Khurshid, as Minority Affairs Minister, strove through 2009 to get reservations for all Muslims under the Backward Communities category, and to persuade the corporate sector to give minorities reservation in lieu of tax rebates. Mr Sachar stressed proportional reservation for Muslims in the police, administrative services, armed forces and public sector. For a nation divided by the impetus created by separate electorates under the British Raj, this is truly macabre.

A discriminated religious community must suffer in terms of parameters like health (IMR, lifespan, growth rate), education (literacy, mean years of schooling, female literacy), general living conditions (absence of overcrowding, access to potable water, toilet facilities) and economic status (participation in work force, per capita income). But most of these human development indicators are favourable for Muslims as compared to Hindus, and in certain instances they are even better than the Hindu General community (e.g., the Infant Mortality Rate for Muslims is 59, as compared to 77 for Hindus). No variation can be attributed to State or institutional discrimination.


Mr Sachar’s most dangerous move, however, was to rectify the low participation of Muslims in politics by proposing de-reservation of Scheduled Caste constituencies where Muslim population is greater through ‘rational delimitation.’ The idea is that Muslim voters will polarize themselves into voting for a Muslim candidate or one compelled to exclusively pander to Muslim interests. This crude cynicism is matched only by his attempt to force the armed forces to submit to a Muslim head count, which was robustly resisted by General J.J. Singh.


Fai’s other friend and Union Home Ministry-appointed chief interlocutor on Jammu & Kashmir is currently under fire from his own colleague Mr M.M. Ansari, as the untimely exposé has blighted their report which was only awaiting the end of the Amarnath Yatra before being submitted to the government, so as not to incite Hindu sentiments. Mr P. Chidambaram fears the Padgaonkar report may now meet the same fate as the Justice Saghir Ahmed working group report, and has tried to minimize Padgaonkar’s enjoying Fai-ISI hospitality and legitimizing the Pakistan-sponsored hate and break-India campaign.


But as Mr Ansari has pointed out, one cannot join a conference without knowing the credibility of the individuals and the institution. Indeed, if the UPA regime wishes to have even an ounce of public credibility, it must crackdown on the Kashmiri separatists who attended the Fai and other seminars and defamed the nation abroad. The Home Minister must explain if he was aware of Mr Padgaonkar’s seminar circuits and biases before appointing him as chief interlocutor on Kashmir. If not, what kind of vetting does the Ministry do before making sensitive appointments?


Mr Chidambaram must urgently bring out a paper listing all Indian nationals who travelled abroad at the invitation of known India-baiters like Fai, Farooq Kathwari and their ilk, with details of the presentations they made there on Kashmir and other alleged human rights violations by Indian security and armed forces. These fifth columnists must be named and shamed, and asked to tender an unconditional apology to the nation for eating its salt, enjoying all the prestige and privileges it bestows upon its unworthy sons, and then playing footsie with its enemies.


Above all, we must be told how Pakistan-ISI, the pro-Pakistan western nations, the ruling UPA, and the anti-national elites, have been found to be on the same page! Shame.


The writer is author, www.vijayvaani.com

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