Indian State and Fais
by Hari Om on 03 Aug 2011 21 Comments
On July 19, American national of Kashmir origin Ghulam Nabi Fai was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) from his house in Fairfax in Virginia, an affluent suburb of Washington DC  (United States), on charges of receiving hundreds and thousands of dollars from the Pakistani intelligence agency, Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI), and using them for lobbying at the Capitol Hill and holding seminars and conferences with a view to influencing the American policy on Jammu & Kashmir.



According to the 43-page FBI affidavit submitted to a US court, the ISI not only funded his Kashmir American Council (KAC), which operated from its headquarters in Washington, but also “dictated his speeches, determined who was to be invited to the conferences and even the results.” The report also suggested that Fai “funnelled ISI’s USD 4 million for clandestinely trying to influence the US policy on Kashmir, had four handlers in the Pakistani spy agency and he had contacted them over 4,000 times since 2008.”



Kashmiri separatist Fai has admitted to receiving funds from Pakistan’s spy agency to influence the American lawmakers on Jammu & Kashmir. Fai told the Virginia court on July 26 through his attorneys – Nina J Ginsberg and Khurram Wahid – that “he took money from ISI.” Fai was released on bail that day on bond, coupled with conditions that he would be “put under house arrest with a radio tag around his ankle for electronic surveillance”; that his and his wife’s passports shall be “confiscated”; and that “he will not talk to any foreign national.”



The arrest of Fai is a significant development. Significant, because the US authorities knew from day one that Fai was lobbying for Pakistan without registering himself with the competent authority as a Pakistani lobbyist. Fai, it needs to be underlined, worked for almost 20 years in the US and other countries, including the United Kingdom and Belgium, and sought to queer the Indian pitch in Kashmir from Washington and several other countries, besides from Pakistan-occupied-Jammu & Kashmir (POJK). Fai had been rubbing shoulders with persons of admitted influence in the US and it is inconceivable that the activities of Fai escaped the attention of the ever-alert FBI sleuths. The fact of the matter is that the US authorities knew everything and some Americans with admitted influence were hand-in-glove with Fai. For example, Dan Burton, a well-known India-baiter and supporter of Pakistan and Kashmiri separatists.



That the FBI finally arrested him indicates a shift in American policy towards the belligerent, undependable and aggressive Pakistan, at least for the time being. Several factors have served to embitter the already somewhat bitter relations between the two countries. These include the lacklustre attitude of Pakistan to the scourge of terrorism, shelter to Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, the manner in which the American Navy seals operated deep inside Pakistan (Abbottabad) to capture and kill Osama on May 2, the hobnobbing between Islamabad and Beijing and Beijing’s assurances of help to Pakistan, and so on. (Beijing gave this assurance when the US suspended military aid to Pakistan only recently.)



The arrest of Fai was also very significant from the Indian standpoint for reasons not difficult to fathom. Far more significant were the revelations made by the 43-page FBI affidavit submitted to the Virginia court. The affidavit said that the “five-member drafting committee of the resolution adopted by the two-day conference from July 29th-30th, 2010, included the eminent Indian journalist and former Indian High Commissioner to Britain, Kuldip Nayar, former Pakistan Ambassador to the United States, Maleeha Lodhi.” The revelation was based on the press release issued by Fai on July 30, 2010.



The said conference, according to the FBI affidavit, “held in the prestigious Gold Room of the Rayburn House at the Capitol, was on “India-Pakistan Relations: Breaking the Deadlock over Kashmir” and the resolution titled “Washington Declaration” said the “participants unanimously expressed grave concern over the deteriorating human rights situation in Kashmir” and urged the Indian Government to “withdraw its armed forces from civilian populated areas.”



But more than that, the FBI affidavit revealed the names of Indians who had participated in ISI-funded anti-India seminars held in Washington DC, London, Brussels and other places across the world, especially in Pakistan, POJK and some Muslim countries hostile to India. Some of the Indians who attended these seminars and cheerfully became party to the anti-India and pro-right-to-self-determination resolutions included – apart from Kuldip Nayar – Dileep Padgaonkar and Radha Kumar (presently interlocutors for Jammu & Kashmir); Rajinder Sachar (former Delhi High Court Chief Justice); Kamal Mitra Chenoy (JNU Professor); Angana Chatterjee (American national of Bengal origin); Harinder Baweja (journalist); Ved Bhasin (editor of Jammu-based English daily); Gautam Navlakha (“peace activist”); Jitendra Bakshi (Kashmiri Hindu and self-styled peace activist); and Rita Manchanda (commentator and ‘peace activist’). A Kashmiri participant in these anti-India seminars also disclosed the name of Rekha Choudhary (Jammu University Professor.) The context was the same. Rekha from POJK calls herself “peace activist” and “Kashmir expert”.



It is hardly necessary to reflect on the nature of the role they played in these anti-India seminars. The views of each one of them on Pakistan, New Delhi and Kashmir are well-known. Suffice it to say they have never considered Jammu & Kashmir an integral part of India. They have all along advocated a solution that not only accords legitimacy to the politics of separatism based on religious fanaticism, as indulged in by a handful of Kashmiri leaders, and accorded legitimacy to the terror tactics employed as state policy by Pakistan to grab Jammu & Kashmir and dismember India.



Ironically, the approach of the Indian State has been identical. It accorded special status to Kashmir in October 1947 and allowed Jammu & Kashmir to have a separate constitution and a flag other than the national tricolour, coupled with all residuary powers. The Congress treated the Muslims of Kashmir as a race apart and did all that it could to drive Jammu & Kashmir away from the national mainstream during all these years of the states accession to India.



Paradoxically, the BJP, which had all through preened itself as an ultra-nationalist party committed to the unity and integrity of India and protecting Indian sovereignty, followed in the footsteps of the Congress and added to the woes of the nation when at the helm between 1998 and 2004. It was vote-bank politics, and not the paramount national interests, which guided both these outfits of all-India character.



New Delhi knew full well that certain Indians of highly doubtful credentials were taking part in the ISI/Fai-sponsored rabidly anti-India seminars but thought it prudent not to bar these pro-Pakistan and pro-Kashmiri separatist elements - masquerading as “peace activists” and systematically furthering the cause of Pakistan in Indian Jammu & Kashmir in lieu of some crumbs – from attending these conferences. This was hardly surprising, given the nature of the Indian State.



India is the only country in the world that has allowed fissiparous tendencies to grow on its soil and play their subversive role. Had the Americans or the Chinese or the Pakistanis indulged in the kind of activities the Indians had been indulging in within and outside India, they would have been eliminated by the respective authorities then and there.



Still, the arrest of Fai caused a stir in official circles in New Delhi. It is hoped that those nominated by AICC president Sonia Gandhi to manage the countrys affairs would finally appreciate the national sentiment and act against Indians who participated in ISI-sponsored seminars and PUGWASH-sponsored similar conferences. However, it has not happened so far.



What has happened is to the contrary. Thus, the likes of Nayar, Sachar, Chenoy, Baweja, Bhasin, Navlakha and so on are roaming free, boasting that what they did during these anti-India conferences was correct and reiterating their stand on India and the Indian presence in Kashmir. Some of them maintain they were not fully aware of the antecedents of Fai and his collaborators like Majid Tramboo and Nazir Shawl who operated from Brussels and London, respectively. Indeed, a lame excuse!



The situation has, in fact, climaxed to the point that Fais in India like Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and those at the helm in various embassies, including Pakistan High Commission, are conducting their anti-India operations from New Delhi itself under the nose of Indian authorities. The Fais are being provided with foolproof security cover and the likes of Pakistani Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir have the audacity to tell the Indian nation from New Delhi itself that “they should not read much in the meeting between Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar and Kashmiri separatists because India is a democratic country.” Bashir said so in the presence of Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao, who will head the Indian Embassy in Washington DC from 1st August.



Hina had discussions on Jammu and Kashmir with Geelani and Mirwaiz on July 26, the day she landed in New Delhi. The Indian rulers knew there would be a meeting between Khar and separatists in the evening as a decision to this effect had been taken on July 17, when Hina was administered the oath of office and secrecy. Pakistan had issued a statement that Hina would first meet separatists and then Mr Krishna. Yet the Indian State did noting to frustrate Pakistan’s evil designs. Reports suggest Krishna raked up the issue during his talks with Hina, but it was an exercise in self-deception.



As if all this was not enough to outrage the nation, Rao informed reporters during the joint press conference (July 27) that the talks between the Indian Foreign Minister and his Pakistani counterpart were held in a very cordial atmosphere and that they have decided to continue the dialogue process so that all issues, including Jammu & Kashmir, are resolved and a lasting peace forged in the region. Earlier in the morning, Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna also referred to Jammu & Kashmir in the presence of Khar.



It was perhaps for the first time in two decades that neither the Pakistani Foreign Minister nor the Pakistani Foreign Secretary referred to Jammu & Kashmir while addressing reporters in New Delhi. Our own Foreign Minister and Foreign Secretary this time performed that job, thus sending a clear signal that the Indian State could play mischief and undermine the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India under the American and the Pakistani pressure.



This is the situation the Congress-led UPA Government has brought the Indian nation to. While Washington DC arrests Fai on the ground that he lobbied on behalf of Pakistan to influence American policy on Jammu & Kashmir,  New Delhi cheerfully promotes Fais and plays with paramount national interests. As for the opposition, the less said the better. Its all anarchy. Is the Indian ship slowly but steadily drifting towards the rock? 



The author is former Chair Professor, Maharaja Gulab Singh Chair, University of Jammu, Jammu, & former member Indian Council of Historical Research

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