International

Fai campaigned for self-determination at ISI’s instance: FBI

Separatist leader Ghulam Nabi Fai’s campaign for self-determination in Kashmir was at the direction of Pakistan’s spy agency ISI, which provided him at least $ 4 million to influence American policy on the issue, prosecutors told a U.S. court today.

However, Fai’s attorneys refuted such a claim and argued that the Kashmiri American Council chief has always espoused the cause of an independent Kashmir.

62-year-old Fai was arrested by the FBI last week on the charges of illegally lobbying on behalf of the Pakistan Government on Kashmir in the U.S.

Special FBI Agent Sarah Webb Linden told the court that ISI in its communication with Fai always argued for taking up the case of “self determination”.

In fact for his every meeting, agenda and speeches, Fai received bullet points from his ISI handlers in Pakistan, Ms. Linden told the court. Fai did what “ISI asked him to do,” she said.

Ms. Linden, who has played the lead role in the Fai case and has interrogated him several times, was responding to questions from defence attorney Khurram Wahid that Fai took an independent line on the issue of Kashmir.

“If you go back to all his speeches, messages and all the conferences that he put together, it is very clear that he always presented a very balanced picture what should be happening in Kashmir. It wasn’t the Pakistani Government’s picture. It was the picture of an independent autonomous Kashmir,” Mr. Wahid said.

However, Ms. Linden tended to disagree in the court room.

When asked to explain by Mr. Wahid, Ms. Linden said Pakistan politicians say different things at different times on Kashmir. “But whenever ISI spoke with Fai, it was always self-determination.”

U.S. Attorney Gordon Kromberg also alleged that Fai has been an ISI agent for the past two decades.

He told the court that during his interrogation after his arrest on July 19, Fai has acknowledged to his links with the ISI and having received money from the ISI.

Another attorney of Fai’s, Nina J. Ginsberg, argued that he received money from a number of governments.

“They believed that he had a balanced position. To say that he lived a lie is just rhetoric, exaggeration. He did not advocate for the Pakistanis and that’s what mattered to the people who were listening to him and mattered to the people who he was fighting for,” she said.

According to the affidavit filed in the District Court in Alexandria, Fai and the KAC have received at least $ 4 million, from the Pakistani government since the mid-1990s.

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Printable version | Feb 23, 2020 2:14:38 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/fai-campaigned-for-selfdetermination-at-isis-instance-fbi/article2298547.ece

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