ISI Funelled $4 mn into US to Influence Kashmir Policy

Washington, Jul 20 (IANS): The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Tuesday exposed Pakistan's two-decade-long covert gameplan to influence American policy against India on the Kashmir issue.

In its 43-page court affidavit unsealed during the indictment of two pro-Pakistan activists, the FBI said Pakistan's military and its power intelligence agency ISI funnelled $4 million over two decades to tilt US's Kashmir policy against India.

Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai, a US citizen and resident of Fairfax in Virginia, and Zaheer Ahmad, a US citizen who is believed to be in Pakistan, have been charged with acting as agents of the Pakistani government without disclosing their affiliation with Islamabad as required by law, the FBI said.

Fai, who is a known Kashmiri separatist in the US, was arrested Monday. He heads the Washington-based Kashmiri American Council (KAC) that lobbies for self-determination for Kashmir. The two men face up to five years in prison if convicted.

The money funnelled into the US was also meant for campaign donations to members of Congress and presidential candidates, according to the FBI.

The affidavit alleges that Fai acted at the direction of the Pakistani government for more than 20 years, adding that four Pakistani government handlers directed his US activities. Fai got in touch with his Pakistani handlers "more than 4,000 times'' since June 2008. His handlers also communicated with Ahmad regularly.

According to the affidavit, a confidential witness told investigators that the money was transferred to Fai through Ahmad. Another confidential witness told investigators that the ISI created the KAC to "propagandize on behalf of the government of Pakistan with the goal of uniting Kashmir.''

The two men stand accused of concealing the fact that a foreign government was funding and directing their lobbying and public relations efforts in America, said Lisa Monaco, US assistant attorney general.

"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," said US Attorney Neil MacBride.

FBI Assistant Director James McJunkin said "Mr. Fai's alleged conduct illustrates the risk to our fair and open government. The charges underscore the dedication of special agents who enforce laws-like the FARA violations charged here-that are designed to detect and defeat those who attempt to surreptitiously exert foreign influence on our government by using agents who conceal their foreign affiliations."

The arrest of two alleged Pakistani agents comes at a time when US-Pakistan relations have reached an all-time low after the killing of Osama bin Laden by US special forces inside Pakistan and expulsion of many US trainers by Pakistan.

Last week, the Obama administration halted $800 million aid to the Pakistani military.


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