Washington, Jul 20: The ISI funneled millions of dollars for more than two decades to influence US policy on Kashmir, the FBI said after arresting a prominent Kashmiri separatist leader here for illegally lobbying for Pakistan.
An affidavit filed by the FBI in a US Court in Alexandria, wherein separatist Kashmiri leader Ghulam Nabi Fai was produced hours after being arrested by the federal agency yesterday on charges of illegally lobbying for the spy agency ISI and Pakistan on the issue of Kashmir.
The 43-page affidavit was filed in connection with indictment of two US citizens, who did not register with Justice Department, as agents of Pakistan.
Fai is the director of the Kashmiri American Council, a Washington-based group that lobbies for self-determination for Kashmir. Its activities, the affidavit said, is funded by ISI.
The money includes USD 100,000 given to political campaigns every year.
Foreign governments are prohibited from making donations to American political candidates.
“The investigation has led me to conclude that Fai has acted at the direction and with financial support of the Government of Pakistan for more than 20 years ... although Fai has some latitude to decide his day-to-day activities, the Government of Pakistan long has directed and funded his lobbying and public relations in the US,” said Sarah Webb Linden, Special Agent, FBI.
The affidavit, filed before the US court on July 18 was made public after Fai was arrested.
In one of the footnotes, Linden clarifies that by the Government of Pakistan he means those mostly the ISI and the Pakistan Army.
“Mr Fai is accused of a decades-long scheme with one purpose - to hide Pakistan's involvement behind his efforts to influence the US government's position on Kashmir,” Neil MacBride, the United States Attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia, said.
“His handlers in Pakistan allegedly funneled millions through the Kashmir Center to contribute to US elected officials, fund high-profile conferences and pay for other efforts that promoted the Kashmiri cause to decision-makers in Washington.”
Pakistan, however, denied knowledge of the case.
“Mr Fai is not a Pakistani citizen and the govt and embassy of Pakistan have no knowledge of the case involving him,” said a spokesman of the Pakistani Embassy in Washington.
Linden says that Fai had four handlers in Pakistan— ‘Abdullah', Javeed Aziz Khan aka ‘Rathore', ‘Abdullah' and ‘Nizami Mir'; Touqeer Mehmood Butt and Sohail Mahmood, who goes by the nickname ‘Mir].
The chargesheet also named another US citizen, Zaheer Ahmad, who lives in Pakistan and was allegedly the main person through which the ISI funneled money to Fai to lobby at the Capitol Hill.
“I also know that Fai's handlers regularly communicate with Ahmad.
For example, Ahmad's email account revealed contact information for Khan. Similar information was revealed from an examination of Ahmad's PDA upon his arrival to the US at Kennedy Airport in New York on July 8, 2009,” Linden said. PTI