A Case Study on Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai

Background:

Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai is the Executive Director of the Kashmiri American Council (KAC). The KAC is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to raising the level of knowledge in the United States about the struggle of the Kashmiri people for self-determination.

Dr. Fai holds a Ph.D. in mass communications from Temple University, Pennsylvania. Topic: “The Role of Mass Media in a Muslim Society: An Analytical Study of the Visual Mass Media in the Shaping of Religious Values in Saudi Arabian Society (1963-1980).”

Dr. Fai is the Member of the Board of Directors of Istanbul-based ‘the Union of the NGOs of the Islamic World’ (UNIW).

He is the United Nations Delegate in Geneva & New York of ‘The International Islamic Federation of Student Organizations (IIFSO) from 1998 till to date.

He was the President of The Muslim Students Association of the United States & Canada from 1985-1988.

He was a Member of the Majlis-e-Shoura of The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) from 1986-1988.

He addressed the United Nations Conference in New York on Technical Cooperation Among Developing Countries in 1986.

During the 2nd United Nations World Conference on Human Rights, held in Vienna, Austria in June 1993, he was elected as the Chairman of the United Nations Unrepresented Peoples and Nations of the World (UPN).

He was invited as a guest speaker by the World Affairs Council, Cedar Rapids, Michigan in 2001, and World Affairs Council, Richmond, Virginia in 2003.

He addressed the 46th thru 61st Sessions of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) at Geneva; and also addressed the 41st thru 57th Sessions of the United Nations Sub Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities at Geneva.

He attended all 17 sessions of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva from 2006 until June 2011.

He participated in all summits of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) since 1991, and met with over 50 Heads of State over the last 20 years.

He addressed the preliminary session at the Centennial Conference of the Parliament of the World's Religions, held in Chicago in August 1993.

He spoke at The 14th International Conference on Conflict Resolution, held in St. Petersburg, Russia in May 2006.

He also addressed The Fourth International Conference on Global Good, held in Honolulu, Hawaii in June 2006.

He was invited to XX Conference of Heads of State of the Non Aligned Movement in
September 1995, held in Cartagena, Columbia, as a special guest.

He was the guest speaker at The 1st International Conference on Atlantic Studies, held in Rianxo, Galaza, Spain in October 2006.

Dr. Fai organized ten International Kashmir Peace Conferences at the Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C.

He also organized the First Latin American Kashmir Conference in July 2007, held in Montevideo, Uruguay.

He organized International Conferences on the issue of Self-determination, Defending the Will of the People, and Defending the Democratic Processes in Geneva, Switzerland.

He has received many prestigious awards for Public Relations, Communication
Expertise, Education and Global Relations.

His articles have appeared in The Daily Guardian, The Washington Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Baltimore Sun and many other foreign policy journals in the United States and around the world.

Circumstances:

The complaint against Dr. Fai alleges that he has conspired to act as an agent of a foreign principal without registering with the Attorney General in violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).

What others say about the case?

“Council on Foreign Relation’s Pakistan expert Daniel Markey says, what is significant about it (Dr. Fai’s arrest) most is the timing. This comes on the heels of the arrest of the Pakistani doctor who assisted the US operation in Abbottabad [targeting Osama bin Laden] and worked directly with the CIA in a variety of ways. The similarities here are striking, and the fact that it comes in the midst of a crisis in the broader US-Pakistan relationship will undoubtedly lead to questions in Pakistan as to whether this arrest and this case are being brought intentionally at this time to send a message to Islamabad.  This is an individual who had some influence here in Washington, but by most accounts was not a significant threat.  He was not a spy in the strict sense of the word.”

“That said, the relationship is on thin ice, and this event will make the ice thinner.” “It could be useful-if only because the United States continues to try to gain the release of the Pakistani doctor who helped with the bin Laden mission.”

Daniel Markey, CFR, July 21, 2011

“In the words of the federal prosecutor, Mr. Fai, head of the Kashmiri American Council and a well-known advocate for Kashmiri rights, has funded "high-profile conferences and [paid] for other efforts that promoted the Kashmiri cause to decision-makers in Washington."  Goodness.  In short, he has been doing what virtually all advocacy groups do in Washington.  His sole violation, in this respect at least, has been to fail to file the necessary paperwork to declare himself an agent of a foreign government, and thus formally join his 2,500 counterparts.”

“Without knowing any more, the mind would reel to imagine the nefarious purposes to which such a covert influence campaign might have been put over the past two decades: Suborning lawmakers and opinion leaders in support of Pakistani nuclear weapons development efforts in the 1990s perhaps, or maybe blackmailing strident pre-9/11 opponents of the Afghan Taliban. But no: The real purpose behind this campaign of Pakistani black arts was - (Here the gentle reader may wish to avert her eyes) - championing the cause of self-determination for Kashmiris.”

“I am usually the last to subscribe to conspiracy theories, but it is hard to suppose that the timing of this case has nothing to do with the current feud between the ISI and its American counterpart.”

Robert Grenier was the CIA's chief of station in Islamabad, Pakistan, from 1999 to 2002, Al Jazeera, July 27, 2011

“Relations between the US and Pakistani intelligence have been increasingly strained this year after the arrest of a CIA operative, Raymond Davis, in Pakistan and the revelation that Osama bin Laden had been in hiding near Islamabad.”

“Last week the Guardian revealed how the CIA funded an extensive fake vaccination programme in Abbottabad, where Bin Laden was living, in order to obtain DNA samples from inside his house.” “Fai's arrest may come to be seen as a tit-for-tat reprisal for the victimisation of several Pakistanis who participated in that vaccination programme. The arrests come as the US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, is on a visit to India.”

“Kashmiri activists reacted with dismay and shock to news of Fai's arrest, describing him as an eloquent advocate for the Kashmiri cause. Several said they believed he had become a victim of deteriorating relations between Washington and Islamabad in the wake of the US raid that killed Bin Laden on 2 May.”

Ewen MacAskill, Declan Walsh, Guardian.co.uk,19 July, 2011

“The allegations have further strained tensions between the Obama administration and the government of Pakistan, which is angry about U.S. intelligence operations on its soil, including the May 2 raid that killed Osama bin Laden. News of the case (of Dr. Fai) reverberated through Pakistan’s military and intelligence apparatus on Wednesday, where many suspect the timing of the charges was in retaliation for recent expulsions and arrests of Americans in Pakistan.”

The Washington Post, July 20, 2011.

Dr. Fai’s arrest is a response to the detention of CIA’s private agents in Pakistan and nothing else. “It might further complicate the already strained relationship between the United States and Pakistan in the days ahead.  Dr Fai is a genuine Kashmiri leader and a responsible US citizen.  He should not become a casualty of the intelligence agencies’ turf war.”

Professor (Dr.) Rasul Bakhsh Rais, The News, July 24, 2011

“One can understand why New Delhi welcomed Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai’s arrest: there is perhaps no other American who has done more to bring the cause of Kashmir’s freedom to the notice of a wide range of fellow Americans than this tireless crusader for Kashmir’s freedom.”

Muhammad Ali Siddiqi, Daily Dawn, August 11, 2011

“The FBI arrested Ghulam Nabi Fai, the Director of Kashmir-American Council and a veteran campaigner for a peaceful quest of ‘azadi’ (Independence) for the people of Jammu and Kashmir on July 20.  A senior official in New Delhi hailed the action as long overdue.  Its timing seemed to have been dictated by the need to make a strong gesture to India during Hillary Clinton’s extended visit.  The irony of depriving Fai of his freedom, while trumpeting these so-called values was probably completely lost on the leaders of both the countries with a long history of advocating them rhetorically and violating them with impunity.”

Amb. Tanvir Ahmad Khan, The News, July 27, 2011

Ambassador Howard Schaffer, a South Asia veteran has counselled Pakistan that it should not get distracted by the Fai case at a time when Pakistan-US relations “face a host of problems.”  But he also added that “it would be even more regrettable if the allegations have been totted out as a way for the United States to hit back at Pakistan in general and the ISI in particular”. As the distinguished diplomat observed, the situation is too serious for this kind of game playing.

Amb. Schaffer, The News, July 27, 2011

“I met him (Dr. Fai) in the restaurant of the Serena Hotel, (Islamabad) where Fai was staying.  Polished and friendly, he said he was in town to meet with every political party in Pakistan and every leader in Pakistani-controlled Kashmir in order to establish a "common minimum agenda" on Kashmir, a consensus view that could be used to get India to the negotiating table.  He was sure that peace would surely be possible if only Kashmiris were included in the process.”

“Fai was frustrated that Obama hadn't acted on the idea of a special envoy, but he was sure it was still possible. He told me: There is urgency as long as President Obama is concerned. That's why there is a hope. He must appoint a special envoy on Kashmir. Make President Obama listen to Candidate Obama.”

“The conflict over Kashmir is, indeed, a cloud hanging over India and Pakistan, and this incident will only add to the suspicion and mistrust that pervades almost any effort to resolve it.”

Jyoti Thottam, TIME Magazine, July 20, 2011

“Dr. Fai’s arrest might have been the CIA’s way of expressing discontent over the arrest of a Pakistani, Dr Shakil, who allegedly aided the Americans in conducting the Abbottabad operation.  The already beleaguered Pak-US relations took another dip with the arrest of Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai by the FBI.  The news of Mr. Fai’s arrest came as a shock to most countrymen, especially to those familiar with the name.  He has toiled hard for more than two decades for creating awareness regarding the Kashmir dispute amongst the US policymakers.  An Indian Kashmiri by origin, he has been living in exile in the US since 1980. ..Mr. Fai had been lobbying actively for the Kashmir cause ever since he set foot on American soil.  All these years he had a clean chit from the US law enforcement agencies.  His sudden arrest has left analysts speculating regarding the possible reasons behind this change of heart on the part of the American establishment.”

Usman Mujib Shami, Deputy Editor, Daily Times, July 27, 2011

“On the face of it, Ghulam Nabi Fai appears to be the latest victim of the ever-growing scuffle between the ISI and the CIA.  The decade-long cordial relationship started showing shades of bitterness as the ISI expressed discontent over the issuance of visas to supposed CIA operatives.  The distrust aggravated in the wake of the Raymond Davis saga, and the cracks in the relationship got exposed to the world as the CIA hunted down the world’s most feared man without trusting the ISI enough to share the mission’s details — a step that was viewed by Pakistan’s military as a violation of mutual rules of engagement.  Many believe that during his recent visit to the US, the ISI chief was asked to set free the doctor, which he reportedly refused. The arrest of Fai just days after General Pasha’s return fuels speculations that the talks between the two spy agencies did not yield desirable results. Moreover, intentionally or coincidentally, the arrest came during Hillary Clinton’s visit to India. The timing is important.”

Usman Mujib Shami, Deputy Editor, Daily Times, July 27, 2011

“The delayed action against Fai is suspect. The arrest was made at a time when US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was in India and it was a signal to India that finally the US had captured and stopped the man whose activities had been in question since long by the Indian side.”

Editorial, Daily Times, July 26, 2011

“A soft-spoken father of two, Fai is a leading voice in the debate over the future of Kashmir, the mountainous border area that India and Pakistan have fought over for years.”

USA Today, July 21, 2011

“Mr. Fai had aged since he posed for the pictures with America's distinguished personalities (George W Bush & Bill Clinton).  But his resolve to work for the "self-determination" of the state of Jammu and Kashmir had not ebbed.”

“He seemed to be friends with the high and mighty of US politics, on both sides of the party divide.  During the conference, several high-profile Republican congressmen expressed their support for Dr Fai's work on the Kashmir issue.  He introduced me to some of these congressmen during the conference.” “And after his arrest, a Pakistani journalist suggested that he had been a victim of American retaliation for the arrests of men in Pakistan following the killing of Osama Bin Laden in Abbotabad.”

“He has been addressing congressmen, academics and journalists on Kashmir over the last 30 years. Some American academics seem to have a high regard for him and his endeavours.” “But he is despised by the Indian community. He longs to visit India, a country he said he had not visited for many years. During an interview he told me last year he would love to visit India and meet Indian leaders".

Zubair Ahmed, BBC, July 24, 2011

“It is very much obvious that the US policy makers’ have tried to settle their old scores with Pakistan under the cover of this arrest. Whatever be the reality, the arrest of Dr. Fai would add another strain to the already worsening relationship between the US and Pakistan.  From his birth to his arrest, in his long story of success and achievements one finds no Pakistan anywhere.  As far as Dr. Fai is concerned he is a Kashmiri and it is his basic human right to strive for the liberty and freedom of his motherland.”

Prof. Ali Sukhanver, July 22, 2011

“Fai rose from ranks to become the diplomatic arm of the Kashmiri separatists, particularly the Hurriyat Conference, in America and the Europe.  Living in self-imposed exile since early 1980s, Fai has been thorn in the flesh of New Delhi given his capability of diplomatic maneuvering to garner support among the US lawmakers for Kashmir cause.  A usual invitee at the international human rights conferences, he has been at the forefront to highlight the rights abuses.”

Ishfaq-Ul-Hassan, Daily News and Analysis, July 21, 2011.

“A senior security official here, who asked not to be named, said “We believe that Dr Fai has been arrested in retaliation to Pakistan’s refusal to release Dr Shakil Afridi, who was arrested in the wake of Abbottabad operation on charges of working for the CIA,” he said.  “They (Americans) say that Dr Fai was being kept under observation for years so it is questionable why now has he been arrested.  It’s the timing that matters. Lt.  General Pasha went to Washington where US officials demanded the release of Afridi.  Lt General Pasha refused and the Americans decided to arrest Dr. Fai,” he added.”

“A Pakistani diplomat, who wished to remain unnamed, said: “Another important reason of this American act to arrest Fai was to please the Indians.  Dr Fai is the most despised Kashmiri leader in India, since despite being someone with origins from Indian-Held Kashmir he has been struggling for the cause of Kashmiris in the US very effectively for years.”  “What better timing than Hillary Clinton’s visit to India to go for the arrest of Dr Fai?”

Abdus-Sattar Ghazali, The Journal of America, July 22, 2011

“Last summer, as bloody clashes broke out between police and protesters on the streets of Kashmir's cities and towns, Ghulam Nabi Fai had an impassioned message for the world. 
“Kashmiris,” the chief of the Kashmiri American Council wrote, “wish to emphasise that their land is not real estate which can be parcelled out between two disputants, but the home of a nation with a history far more compact and coherent than India's and far longer than Pakistan's.” Those impassioned words, FBI documents filed in a Virginia court on Tuesday allege, were more likely than not authored by an officer of Pakistan's intelligence services.” “For decades, Dr. Fai was the most visible face of Kashmiri secessionism in the West: presiding over a succession of high-profile conferences for which delegates were flown in from across the world and flying from one world capital to the next rallying support for his cause.”

“The voice of reason” Born in April, 1949, Dr. Fai grew up in the affluent central Kashmir village of Wadwan — just a few kilometres from the home of his childhood friend and future political associate, the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen's Pakistan-based commander-in-chief Muhammad Yusuf Shah.  Shah would become known as the menacing face of the Kashmir jihad; Dr. Fai was to be its voice of reason.”

Praveen Swami, The Hindu, New Delhi, July 21, 2011

Dr Fai is an important ambassador of the Kashmir cause and had been projecting the dispute at world level for last 32 years. Being an ardent champion and bold pleader of Kashmir cause, he has been a thorn in the eyes of India. His arrest is the result of India’s diplomatic efforts and conspiracies. Dr. Fai had recently participated in the OIC meeting in Kazakhstan where he successfully highlighted the Kashmir issue and pleaded for Kashmiris’ right of self-determination. His participation in OIC meeting had enraged the Government of India. His only crime is that he is a freedom-loving man.

Syed Ali Geelani, Greater Kashmir July 21, 2011

“Moderate Kashmiri leader and Chairman of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), Yasin Malik said that he first met US Assistant Secretary of State Christina Rocca in 2005 with Dr Fai in Washington and discussed how to engage United Jihad Council in peace efforts.  Rocca gave a go ahead to both of them. Then he discussed this
idea with Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh in 2006 and surprisingly the
Indian prime minister said yes to that idea.  After sometime Yasin Malik and Dr.
Fai met Jihad Council leaders and engaged them in peace efforts.  Yasin Malik said that Dr Fai was not working for any secret agency but was only working for the peaceful resolution of Kashmir dispute.”

GEO TV, Capitol Talk, July 22, 2011

Yasin Malik, also told TNS Dr. Fai’s detention would be good news for the Kashmiri radicals. “The US action would weaken moderate forces in the Kashmir valley who believe in good relations with the western world, particularly with the USA.”

Mohammad Yasin Malik, TNS, July 22, 2011

The timing of the detention of Dr. Fai raises many questions. “Why he was not detained over the years? His arrest at the time of cold war between Inter services Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan and Central Intelligence Agency of America also raises many doubts. It is not a sin or crime to lobby for the genuine cause. “I met many high profile US government officials in Washington with Dr Fai and no official ever raised any doubt about him.”

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Greater Kashmir, July 21, 2011

The arrest of Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai could be an outcome of Indian conspiracies aimed at thwarting the on going efforts at the international level to resolve the Kashmir dispute. Dr. Fai’s role in projecting the Kashmir cause has been highly commendable. He had been highlighting the Kashmir dispute at international level in a democratic and peaceful manner and his arrest was unjustified.

Shabir Ahmad Shah ,jkdpf.org,  July 20, 2011

“Dr. Fai is an honest, conscientious and committed democrat with his own peculiar quality of individualism to work for peaceful settlement of Kashmir issue.” 

Muhammad Azam Inqilabi, Srinagar, Kashmir, July 21, 2011

Group Editor of The News Shaheen Sehbai said that Dr Fai was probably a victim of crossfire between CIA and ISI.

GEO TV, July 22, 2011

“The third development has perhaps been the most bizarre and in the long run the
most damaging – that is the arrest of Dr Fai of the Kashmiri American Council.  Coming in the wake of the Clinton visit to India, this has altered the dynamics of the ISI-CIA spat because it has dragged the Kashmir issue and the Kashmiri Diaspora unfairly into this targeting of Pakistan and its premier intelligence agency…Despite the fact that Dr Fai is a Kashmiri from Occupied Kashmir who has been working for the Kashmiri cause in the US for decades and is well respected and his organization well-established, he has suddenly become a means to target not just Pakistan but also the Kashmir cause just before Kashmiri and Indo-Pakistan interactions.”

Dr. Shireen Mazari, July 22, 2011

“Dr. Fai, 62, a Kashmiri by birth, had become the American face of separatist movement in the Valley…The US was believed to have avenged Pakistan’s action in ‘harassing’ those Pakistanis who had helped US knowingly or unknowingly in spotting Osama Bin Laden’s Abbottabad hideout.  It is simply not believable that Fai’s alleged crime came to be noticed by the US authorities two decades after he became an American citizen and emerged as a high profile Kashmir-activist in the corridors of American power.  He was
allowed to hold international and other conferences and freely lobbied US Congressmen…Fai had been rubbing shoulders with high and mighty in the US and it is inconceivable that his alleged unlawful activities were not known to the authorities who have chosen to strike now.”

Mohammad Sayeed Malik, Kashmir Times, July 20, 2011

“ Dr. Fai is one of the leaders who want a peaceful solution of Kashmir dispute.  He served whole life to raise the Kashmir issue on the basis of dialogues, argument and human rights.”

PML(N )leader & Senator Raja Zafar-Ul- Haq, SANA News, July 21

“I think his arrest is just about settling scores with Pakistan.  It implies that relations are deteriorating.”

Tariq Naqash, Daily Dawn, July 19, 2011

“He (Dr. Fai) was never bracketed with any particular Kashmiri group or ideology.  He emerged as a leading spokesman for the Kashmir cause for over three decades and travelled to over 40 countries lecturing on the subject.”

Ershad Mahmud, The News, July 24, 2011

“Having carried out a heroic struggle under most difficult circumstances, Dr. Fai has become the globally-recognized face of Kashmiri public diplomacy.” “Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai, a respected community activist and leader, has a right to the presumption of innocence and the right to a competent legal defense, the cost of which will require community support.”

“Equally important for us is to ensure that the cause of Kashmir finds a peaceful expression in the United States. All the constitutional protections afforded any American citizen must remain available to Kashmiri-Americans and to all those who support the Kashmiri right to self-determination.” “Let no one be deluded into thinking that the present restrictions on the Kashmiri American Council (KAC) will mean banning of advocacy on behalf of the long-suffering people of Kashmir.

The American Muslim Taskforce on Civil Rights and Elections, August 2, 2011

What the Community can do?

The time has come for all of us to come together and support Dr. Fai’s legal defense efforts.  In the last twenty-one years, Dr. Fai has repeatedly called for an unconditional tripartite negotiations -- between the Governments of India and Pakistan, and the Kashmiri leadership to settle the long standing conflict of Kashmir.  Now is not the time to sit and watch Dr. Fai become a political casualty of the fallout between the United States and Pakistani government.

It is our moral obligation to stand for what is right.  A vigorous, principled legal defense is the need of the hour.  We must bear the burden imposed upon Dr. Fai to ensure that he is able to defend himself with the best and brightest of legal counsel. At this difficult time, we urge the members of our community to express your financial support and assist us at this hour of need.

Important:

Please note that based upon our defense attorney’s conversations with the prosecutor regarding Dr. Fai’s legal defense fund, the individuals who donate their own money, or organizations whose donor bases do not include foreign agents or governments are at no risk at all.  It is not illegal to donate money to pay for someone’s legal defense.  As long as the funds being contributed are the donors own funds, are not derived from illegal activities, the donors should have nothing to fear.

Therefore, please do support Dr. Fai’s legal defense efforts and make your checks payable to:

Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai Legal Defense Fund,

C/O. Mr. Sareer A. Fazili, Esq., 12 Sasan Parkway, Henrietta, New York 14467.

email: 
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Thank you for your understanding, and cooperation.

With profound regards, Sareer Fazili, Esq. Member Board of Directors Kashmiri American Council.

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