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Kashmiri American Council leader begins two-year imprisonment

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Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai, the Executive Director of Kashmiri American Council, began a two-year prison term on June 26 for violating tax laws related to non-profit organizations. On March 30th he was sentenced to two-year imprisonment for conspiracy and violations of certain tax laws. He was initially charged with conspiring to violate the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) but the prosecution dropped these charges.

In an affidavit filed in court on July 18, 2011, the FBI said Pakistan has spent at least $4 million since the mid-1990s lobbying the U.S. Congress and the White House through Fai and the Kashmiri American Council. The FBI affidavit detailed the alleged scheme in which Fai's organization received up to $700,000 annually from Pakistan to make campaign contributions to U.S. politicians, sponsor conferences and other promotions. The FBI alleged that Dr. Fai lobbied at the Congress and the Administration on behalf of Pakistan without declaring himself as the a Pakistani agent. The FBI affidavit said Fai had denied that he had lobbied, saying instead he was involved in public relations.

In December last year, Dr Fai had pleaded guilty to two charges: 1.) "To falsify, conceal and cover up material facts he had a duty to disclose in matters within the jurisdiction of executive branch agencies of the US government"; 2.) "To defraud the Treasury Department by impeding the lawful functions of the IRS in the collection of revenue."

On March 30, 2012, Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai was sentenced to two years in incarceration in a minimum security prison for not abiding by tax regulations during his campaign in support of the Kashmir cause.

Interestingly, Dr. Fai's alleged accomplice, Dr. Zaheer Ahmad, a Pakistani-American doctor who ran Shifa International Hospital in Islamabad , died in early October after suffering a stroke in Islamabad.

Dr. Fai to continue work for the cause of Kashmir

Dr. Fai says during his incarceration at the minimal security Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) in Cumberland, Maryland, he will continue his work for the cause of Kashmir.

Addressing a forum on "self-determination for Kashmir" on June 21, 2012 in Fremont, CA, Dr Fai said there is no restriction on him to continue his work for the cause of Kashmir. He pointed out that the prosecution had withdrawn charges initially leveled against him to be the agent of a foreign government.

Judge Liam O'Grady, while announcing the verdict for two-year imprisonment had made it clear that "it's (sentencing) necessary, even though you have done some very moving things on behalf of the Kashmiri people and that your cause is a wonderful cause," Fai told the gathering. He quoted again Judge O'Grady as saying: "I sincerely hope that while you're at a minimal security facility like Cumberland, that I see no reason why you can't continue to advocate on behalf of the Kashmiri people and to write."

Dr Fai stressed that no solution to the 65-year-old Kashmir conflict that didn't command a consensus among the 17 million Kashmiri people could endure just as no solution to East Timor held a chance of success until the East Timor's leadership was consulted and a referendum on independence from Indonesia was held.

For too long, Fai pointed out, India's persecution of people of Kashmir has been buried under the rubric of   "the world's largest democracy." "There is no democracy in Kashmir; only military rule and the law of the gun. In fact the presence of more than 700,000 Indian military and paramilitary forces have made Kashmir the largest army concentration anywhere in the world."

Dr. Ghulam Nabi said he believes in the peaceful settlement of the Kashmir conflict through tripartite negotiations between Governments of India and Pakistan and the accredited leadership of the people of the State of Jammu & Kashmir.

During the hearing his attorney Nina Ginsburg stated: "Judge, I think (Assistant U.S. Attorney) Mr. Kromberg's arguments to the Court are appalling.  [Federal investigators] have a lot of words that were captured in intercepts, 20 years of intercepts, hundreds of thousands of interprets, and Mr. Kromberg cannot stand in front of this Court with one example of a statement, a public statement by Dr. Fai, a writing by Dr. Fai, a position taken at a conference he sponsored, not one, not one word, that is anything that could be characterized as propaganda for the Pakistani government." 

Fai himself said he frequently took positions at odds with those espoused by Pakistan. Most fundamentally, he said, he advocated for Kashmiri independence while Pakistan wants the territory annexed into its own country.

Ginsberg also took exception to the government's efforts to paint Fai as an extremist. She said they had been monitoring his email and phone calls surreptitiously for 20 years, and could produce no evidence to back up those assertions. As for his alleged links with the Muslim Brotherhood, she said Fai answered the government's questions truthfully - he knows many members of the group, which is prominent in many Muslim countries, but is not a part of the organization.

Dr. Fai is the founding chairman of the California-based World Peace Forum. He is the Chairman of the International Institute of Kashmir Studies. He is also the Chairman of the Kashmiri American Foundation & the London-based Justice Foundation. Dr. Fai is also the Member of the Board of Director of Istanbul-based the Union of the NGOs of the Islamic World. 

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Author and journalist. Author of Islamic Pakistan: Illusions & Reality; Islam in the Post-Cold War Era; Islam & Modernism; Islam & Muslims in the Post-9/11 America. Currently working as free lance journalist. Executive Editor of American (more...)
 

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