Washington: Separatist Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai and his Kashmiri American Council were under full control of ISI, being run as an extension of Pakistan’s spy agency to convince US lawmakers, officials and thinktanks about their viewpoint on Kashmir, according to latest court documents.
The US-based Kashmiri separatist pleaded guilty yesterday to federal charges of spying for the ISI, illegally lobbying the Congress to influence the American policy on Kashmir and clandestinely receiving money from the ISI.
As part of the plea agreement, federal US Government Attorney and Fai signed a 26-page State of Fact document which reveals in details not only the modus operandi of Fai, his relationship with ISI, but also his budget for annual contributions to lawmakers which ranged from $80,000 to $1000,000 per annum.
According to this “Statement of Fact", Fai received at least $3.5 million (over ₹ 16 crores as estimated on current rates) since 1990 for his KAC work to advance Pakistan’s interest on Kashmir in the US.
Running into 81 paragraphs, the Statement of Facts also identifies the names of the ISI officials who were Fai’s handlers or acquaintances in Pakistan.
The officials Fai dealt with were Javeed Aziz Khan also known as “Brigadier Abdullah (‘Khan´)" who handled Kashmiri affairs in the mid-1990s; major general Mumtaz Ahmad Bajwa, who in late 2008 became head of the ISI’s Security directorate that oversees Kashmiri militant groups, Lieutenant Colonel Touqeer Mehmood Butt, and Sohail Mahmood also known as “Mir".
Fai told US District Judge O’Grady, when asked by the latter, that all information provided in this “Statement of Fact" were true and then later signed it also in the court.
In return for financial contributions, Fai submitted to his ISI handlers KAC’s annual budget for approval.
The annual document was normally titled “Strategy Document for the Kashmiri-American Council, Washington DC USA" and sent to the ISI in the month of December. These documents described KAC’s plans to provide information to Executive Branch officials, use Congress to highlight the issue of Kashmir, and offset the Indian lobby, said the statement of fact.
For instance, KAC’s strategy document for the year 2000 listed its three top objectives — to persuade the administration that self determination in Kashmir would advance national interests of the US; influence Congress; and capture media attention to influence debate on Kashmir.
The Strategy Document for 2000 detailed KAC’s budget requirements for that year to be $ 490,000, including $ 80,000 for contributions to members of Congress, $ 100,000 for a conference, $ 60,000 for seminars, $ 50,000 for opinion pieces to be distributed to newspapers, and $ 30,000 to organise a Congressional trip to Kashmir.
The Strategy Documents for the later years detailed budgets of $ 455,000 in 2001, $ 490,000 in 2005, and $ 719,000 in 2006.
Each of the budgets allotted between $ 80,000 and $ 100,000 for these different heads.
On January 1, 2008, Fai emailed Khan a document which contained a complete accounting of FAI’s activities for 2007, including 33 meetings with members of Congress, Congressional staff, the National Security Council, and State Department.
“Fai inflated his annual budgets and embellished his reports of his accomplishments in order to obtain the maximum amount of money," it said.
These documents also revealed that it is at the direction of ISI that Fai and KAC raised the issue of mass graves in Kashmir.
“In April and May 2008, Khan sent Fai three e-mails asking Fai to highlight the issue of mass graves recently discovered in Indian-controlled Kashmir. Fai then raised the topic at his Ninth International Kashmir Peace Conference, held on Capitol Hill in July 2008, and sent a letter to UN secretary general Ban-ki Moon that mentioned mass graves," the statement said.
May 2007 file photo Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai, executive director of the Kashmiri American Council speaks in Kashmir. Fai, man accused of secretly receiving millions of dollars from Pakistan’s spy service while he lobbied Congress on the disputed Kashmir territory is expected to plead guilty to federal charges Wednesday. AP
On 24 August, 2008, Khan wrote to Fai that he should “kindly interact with lawmakers in his area of responsibility and brief them of the latest/current imbroglio" in Kashmir emphasising that the problem in Kashmir was about denial of “self-determination".
Three days later, Fai responded with an e-mail saying, “We have initiated this campaign in the United States".
Fai described his meeting with representatives of the National Security Council, and reported that he had requested a meeting with the State Department.
On 17 September, 2008, Fai reported to Khan that he had met the Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs, and provided “copies of statements by Indian intellectuals and human rights organisations" on Kashmir.
According to the document for 2009, KAC intended to have a strategy to secure Congressional support to encourage the executive branch to support “independence in Kashmir", build new alliances in State Department, National Security Council, Congress, Pentagon, and to expand media efforts while projecting budgetary requirements of $738,000, including $100,000 for contributions to members of Congress.
“Fai inflated the amount of the budget request in an attempt to obtain the maximum amount of funds," it said.
Khan, however, asked him to reduce the budget given the prevailing circumstances. Accordingly Fai sent a revised budget request of USD 638,000 and listed planned activities for the year including events to brief lawmakers and incoming White House and administration officials.
“On 31 December, 2008, Khan requested that Fai formulate programmes to respond to claims by India that the large turnout in recently concluded elections was an expression by Kashmiris of their approval of Indian rule.
“Five days later, after Fai met with a senior State Department official, Fai sent Khan and several media outlets a press release asserting that the elections in Kashmir were not a substitute for a referendum and not even a first step towards the resolution of Kashmir dispute," it said.
On 11 May, 2009, Fai requested that Khan approve the invitation of 12 Pakistani politicians, scholars, and journalists on his list for KAC’s July conference. Khan responded with a listing of eight individuals, only three of whom had been on Fai’s list.
Fai’s 2010 budget proposal was $658,000 and listed 61 events that KAC planned for the year.