Karela Fry

Just another WordPress.com weblog

The story behind the US stand on Kashmir

leave a comment »

NYT breaks the story behind the mysterious decades long US stand on Kashmir:

Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai

Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai

Pakistan’s military, including its powerful spy agency, has spent $4 million over two decades in a covert attempt to tilt American policy against India’s control of much of Kashmir — including funneling campaign donations to members of Congress and presidential candidates, the F.B.I. claimed in court papers unsealed Tuesday.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation made the allegations in a 43-page affidavit filed in connection with the indictment of two United States citizens on charges that they failed to register with the Justice Department as agents of Pakistan, as required by law. One of the men, Zaheer Ahmad, is in Pakistan, but the other, Syed Fai, lives in Virginia and was arrested on Tuesday.

Mr. Fai is the director of the Kashmiri American Council, a Washington-based group that lobbies for and holds conferences and media events to promote the cause of self-determination for Kashmir. According to the affidavit, the activities by the group, also called the Kashmiri Center, are largely financed by Pakistan’s spy agency, the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI, along with as much as $100,000 a year in related donations to political campaigns in the United States. Foreign governments are prohibited from making donations to American political candidates.

A search in Federal Elections Commission databases for contributions by Mr. Fai showed that he has made more than $20,000 in campaign contributions over the past two decades. The bulk of his donations went to two recipients: the National Republican Senatorial Committee and Representative Dan Burton, a Republican from Indiana.

Mr. Fai made numerous — though smaller — contributions to Democrats as well, including to Representatives James P. Moran of Virginia, Dennis J. Kucinich of Ohio and Gregory W. Meeks of New York, and $250 donations to the 2000 and 2008 presidential campaigns of Al Gore and Barack Obama.

Mr. Ahmad also donated to Mr. Burton, records show. For at least 15 years, Mr. Burton has been a champion for Kashmiri causes in Congress, appealing to Presidents Bill Clinton and Obama to get more involved in attempting to mediate a settlement between India and Pakistan over the border region. He has also endorsed allowing the Kashmiri people to vote on their own fate.

Both Mr. Fai and Mr. Ahmad also donated to Representative Joe Pitts, a Pennsylvania Republican who visited the region in 2001 and 2004, meeting with Pakistani and Indian leaders and calling for a cease-fire. He also introduced a resolution in 2004 calling for President George W. Bush to appoint a special envoy to help negotiate peace.

Among the evidence that Mr. Fai was working for Pakistan, the affidavit said, are annual budget requests he allegedly submitted to his handlers along with lists of accomplishments and strategic-planning documents. Other documents and intercepts showed that they sometimes quarreled over reimbursing him for the costs of trips or about contracts for which he had not gotten advance approval.

The legal fact about Kashmir is that acceded to the Indian union in the same way that all other princely kingdoms did after the independence of India. Here is the text of the treaty:

Whereas the Indian Independence Act, 1947, provides that as from the fifteenth day of August, 1947, there shall be set up an independent Dominion known as INDIA, and that the Government of India Act 1935, shall with such omissions, additions, adaptations and modifications as the Governor General may by order specify, be applicable to the Dominion of India.

And whereas the Government of India Act, 1935, as so adapted by the Governor General, provides that an Indian State may accede to the Dominion of India by an Instrument of Accession executed by the Ruler thereof.

Now, therefore, I Shriman Inder Mahinder Rajrajeswar Maharajadhiraj Shri Hari Singhji, Jammu & Kashmir Naresh Tatha Tibbet adi Deshadhipati, Ruler of Jammu & Kashmir State, in the exercise of my Sovereignty in and over my said State do hereby execute this my Instrument of Accession

Given under my hand this 26th day of October, nineteen hundred and forty seven.

Hari Singh
Maharajadhiraj of Jammu and Kashmir State

This was accepted by the then Governor General of India, Mountbatten of Burma.

There is an interesting reaction from Kashmiri separatist groups, reported by Kashmir Dispatch:

Chairman Hurriyat Conference (G) Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Wednesday said that the arrest of lobbyist Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai by FBI in the United States was an act of ‘conspiracy’ of India “that will not deter Kashmir resistance movement”.

“The arrest was undertaken without any evidence. This conspiracy of India is aimed to weaken our struggle but it won’t weaken our movement at any level,” he said in a statement.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: