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Fai's Indians not my Indians

Discussion in 'International Relations' started by Bang Galore, Jul 24, 2011.

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  1. Bang Galore

    Bang Galore Lieutenant FULL MEMBER

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    Fai's Indians not my Indians

    Swapan Dasgupta

    As the London correspondent of an Indian newspaper in the mid-1990s, I went for a meeting on Jammu & Kashmir in one of the committee rooms of the Palace of Westminster. There was nothing spectacularly important about the meeting and my only reason for going was that an Indian diplomat pressed me to attend. Those were the days when Jammu & Kashmir was on the boil and Western Governments were inclined to be quietly sympathetic to the separatists.

    The meeting would have been unmemorable had it not been for a group of about 10 so-called Kashmiri activists who started shouting slogans and forced the security staff to intervene and clear the whole room. The Indian diplomat was understandably dejected and angry but helpless. It had taken just 10 determined and rowdy activists to win a minor victory for Pakistan.

    I was reminded of the incident last year when, on a visit to London, I observed a group of some 50 noisy demonstrators picketing the Indian High Commission in Aldwych. Later that day I asked an Indian diplomat who was knowledgeable about such things what all the fuss was about. Surely India-Pakistan diplomacy had gone beyond these silly bouts of slogan-shouting in London?

    The diplomat’s answer was cynically revealing. “It’s a mug’s game,” he replied. The Pakistan mission, he indicated, was under a compulsion to keep its local supporters happy. As a matter of routine, a busload or so of protesters were brought in to shout slogans for a few hours. When the show was over, these guys retired to a side street a few blocks away where a Pakistani handler would dole out a small fee and a carton of cigarettes to each protester. “It’s completely purposeless but a part of the Pakistani drill,” my diplomat friend assured me.

    I guess Ghulam Nabi Fai, the director of the Kashmiri American Council, who finds himself in trouble with the FBI for violating the provisions of the US Foreign Agents Registration Act, was also part of the ‘drill’ in Washington, DC. The US Justice Department has claimed that Fai’s organisation, which also has branches in London and Brussels, received nearly $4 million from the Pakistan Government since the mid-1990s. It is also alleged that Fai operated on the instructions of Islamabad for the past 20 years and interacted with his intelligence ‘handlers’ more than 4,000 times since June 2008. The allegations would suggest that Fai was a field operative for the notorious ISI.

    Fai’s activities were a little more subtle than the hired rabble in London that mouthed anti-India profanities for the sake of a carton of cigarettes. He organised seminars and conferences and lobbied law-makers to influence US policy on Kashmir — a legitimate activity if you consider that his primary allegiance was to Pakistan.

    As part of his promotion of Pakistani interests, Fai assiduously courted those Indians in India who would help serve his interests. He made it a point to invite select Indians to his annual conferences in Washington — the business class tickets and generous hospitality being sweeteners. Naturally, his interest was focussed on those Indians whose views converged with the interests of Pakistan. He wasn’t bothered with Indians who felt that Jammu & Kashmir was an integral part of the Indian Union, even if some of them were unhappy with New Delhi’s handling of the civil unrest in the State. He was interested in a particular type of Indians — those who were critical of the Indian state but, at the same time, were also well-connected figures in the larger Indian Establishment. The so-called ‘human rights activists’ and ‘independent’ journalists were high on Fai’s list of priorities.

    This is not to suggest that every Indian who disagreed with the official position on Jammu & Kashmir did so with a view to making Islamabad happy. That is clearly not the case. However, the contrarian would have to be a prize ass or wilfully obtuse to not realise that Pakistan would gleefully lap up their dissent for its own narrow advantage.

    The issue, therefore, is not whether a Justice Rajinder Sachar or an editor of a mainstream publication held certain contrarian views that democratic India allows them the right to do. The issue is whether or not they were aware of Fai’s ability to use those views to promote the interests of Pakistan in a third country. All the evidence suggests that those Indians who travelled to the US to participate in Fai-organised programmes did so with the full awareness of the larger agenda of the Kashmiri American Council. The greed of a junket proved so overwhelming that they were willing to aid the interests of an enemy nation — and let’s have no doubt that Pakistan is an enemy nation with which India has been in a state of undeclared war.

    There is a difference between a junket and an ISI-sponsored junket. Those who can’t appreciate the difference don’t deserve to grace public life in India.

    The legitimacy Fai’s Indians gave to Pakistan’s war of a thousand cuts resulted in more than diplomatic embarrassment to India. It helped prolong a conflict and has resulted in the spilling of innocent blood.

    To condone the transgressions of Fai’s Indians as simple naiveté or a colossal misjudgement is to be excessively indulgent. To not bat for India isn’t an offence; to play for Pakistan is an act of betrayal.

    The Pioneer :: Home : >> Fais Indians not my Indians
     
  2. Bang Galore

    Bang Galore Lieutenant FULL MEMBER

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    Junketing on the ISI's money

    Kanchan Gupta

    Mocking at the West’s Left-liberal intelligentsia, many of whose leading members had returned from all-expenses paid trips to the Soviet Union to pay glowing tributes to its dictator and his police state, Stalin is believed to have once said, “They are useful idiots, but idiots nonetheless.” Chroniclers of the Stalin era dispute this attribution, insisting it was Lenin who scathingly referred to “useful idiots” in the capitalist West who “will sell us the rope with which to hang them”. Scholars of Lenin’s vast body of articles, speeches and pamphlets, as well as commentary recorded in party papers, deny he ever said this. Despite its disputed origin, the phrase “useful idiots”, used for describing apologists of the USSR till the Soviet Empire collapsed and passed into history, has survived. Today it is used for describing Left-liberal intellectuals who wittingly or unwittingly become propagandists for dubious and disreputable causes.

    It was almost close to midnight when news broke of the FBI arresting Ghulam Nabi Fai, executive director of the Washington-based Kashmiri American Council, for acting as a front of the ISI, the Pakistani spy agency which unabashedly sponsors global jihad, for close to two decades. His colleague, Zaheer Ahmad, managed to give the FBI the slip; he is reported to be in Pakistan at the moment. By itself, the news was worth little, apart from the fact that the famed FBI had remained in the dark for so many years about the real identity and intention of a Pakistani spy who had easy access to offices of Senators and Representatives on the Capitol Hill and lobbied to influence US policy on the issue of Jammu & Kashmir. Or, conversely, it is only now, with relations between the US and Pakistan rapidly unravelling and the CIA at war with the ISI, that the Americans have thought it fit to expose someone about whom they had known all along. After all, various US agencies were aware of the ISI’s links with Daood Syed Gilani, also known as David Coleman Headley who too, like Fai, is an American citizen of Pakistani origin.

    But there’s more to the Kashmiri American Council story than the Lashkar-e-Tayyeba’s Chicago cell and its activities which makes it far more sinister. Headley facilitated the multiple strikes by Pakistani terrorists on high profile targets in Mumbai on November 26, 2008, resulting in a ghastly carnage and terrible loss of human lives. But what Fai and his associates, as well as those who sponsored his activities in the US, are guilty of has wider ramifications and greater implications. In a sustained, sophisticated manner they sought to legitimise radical Islamist impulses in the Kashmir Valley and separatism disguised as a political cause although it is terrorism by another name. For this the services of usual suspects on the Hill, including Dan Burton, were secured — for a price. The lubricating power of ‘Brylcreem’, the code word used for millions of dollars supplied by the ISI and funneled into ‘lobbying’ activities by Fai, remained unknown till the KAC racket was exposed.

    Along with many others in Delhi, this writer was on the mailing list of Fai’s KAC and would regularly receive invitations to attend ‘conferences’ organised in one of the Congressional chambers on the Hill. A detailed report on who all had attended the ‘conference’ and who had said what would follow, often penned by Victoria Schofield, one of the many Western journalists whose proximity to the Rawalpindi establishment is the subject of much speculation, none of it flattering. In the absence of any of the participants refuting the contents of these reports, they also serve as irrefutable documents of their having accepted Fai’s — and hence by implication the ISI’s — hospitality, including business class tickets, five-star hotel accommodation and a ‘token’ fee which really means an undisclosed amount of money, its quantum depending on how ‘influential’ the participant was perceived to be. It is entirely possible that Arundhati Roy who spends her afternoons in the company of Maoists listening to grasshoppers sing or helping radical Islamists hoist the Pakistani flag in Srinagar, Kuldip Nayar whose columns are published by a larger number of newspapers in India and Pakistan, Justice Rajinder Sachar of ‘Sachar Committee’ fame and Dileep Padgaonkar who was earlier editor of The Times of India and now heads the panel of interlocutors for Jammu & Kashmir set up by the Union Government had higher budgets allocated to their participation than, say, Bharat Bhushan who is editor of Mail Today and Gautam Navlakha who turns apoplectic with rage every time he is told India is a sovereign country with a republican Constitution. We don’t need to go into the details of their denunciation of the Government of India’s policies, the abuse they heaped on the Indian Army, the allegations they levelled against our security forces fighting terrorists and the horrible lies of rape and murder they repeated knowing full well these were slanderous and unsubstantiated. They are far too well known to merit elaboration.

    All of them now say they were not aware of Fai’s links with the ISI or that the KAC was a front organisation of the Pakistani spy agency, that if invited again (of which there are slim chances), they won’t go. That’s balderdash. None of them is a novice in his or her chosen profession and the linkages of ‘think-tanks’ are a badly kept secret in Delhi. Back in the mid-1980s, some of us would receive invitations from Gurmit Singh Aulakh, the self-appointed ‘President’ of the imaginary ‘Council of Khalistan’, to attend ‘conferences’ organised by him in the Congressional chambers on the Hill. That’s not the only thing he shared in common with Fai; every ‘conference’ would be graced by Dan Burton. In those days there was no e-mail or fax; the invitations came by airmail in plain white envelopes containing neatly typed letters carrying the ‘official seal’ of the ‘Council of Khalistan’. It’s difficult to recall anybody accepting Aulakh’s invitations or travelling at his expense to Washington, DC — everybody knew it was a Pakistani operation, abetted, if not aided, by the CIA. So we would all have a laugh at the expense of Aulakh and his sponsors, and the invitations would go straight into the wastepaper basket. Similarly, everybody knew Fai’s antecedents and instinct should have told them that there was nothing kosher about his KAC or the ‘conferences’ organised by him. So, it’s difficult to believe them when they say that they did not know about Fai’s intentions and the KAC’s ISI link; in any event, as any court in the world would tell an accused, ignorance of the law is not an admissible plea. This brings us to where we began. A friend and fellow columnist described the beneficiaries of Fai’s hospitality with the ISI picking up the tab as “useful idiots, but idiots nonetheless”. I thoroughly disagree with him: They are not idiots, but yes, they have proved to be useful for Pakistan.

    Fai’s KAC was only one of the many such operations by the ISI. The Kashmir Centres in London and Brussels are two more examples. How many of our Left-liberal intellectuals attended ‘conferences’ organised by these Kashmir Centres? And how many of them attended ‘seminars’ organised in nondescript American and European universities to ‘discuss’ the Kashmir problem? One such conference, “Kashmir in Crisis: Pathways to Peace”, was organised at the University of Colorado, Boulder, ostensibly by its students. The real organiser was a certain Ayesha Nawaz, Development Director of Al-Imtiaz Foundation, who was sending out mail and following up on travel plans for those invited to attend the ‘conference’ from “Pakistan, Kashmir and India”. A simple check on the Internet reveals that Al-Imtiaz Foundation has its headquarters at Mansehra Road, Supply Bazar, Abbottabad, Pakistan. Surely our Left-liberal intellectuals who attended this conference and held forth on India’s ‘villainous misdeeds’ in Jammu & Kashmir were not unaware of these details?

    The Pioneer :: Home : >> Junketing on the ISIs money
     
  3. chachachoudhary

    chachachoudhary Captain SENIOR MEMBER

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    Arundhati Roy, rajinder sacchar, kuldeep nayar, dileep padgaonkar. Are not these the favourite poster boys of Indias vocal secular brigade? Are not these the same kind-hearted liberals who always questioned us poor indians with RSS, VHP, BJP branded on our foreheads if we are the thekedars of patriotism?

    I need to ask just one question to these seculars. In all the seminars, conferences organized by Fai, the participating members passed a resolution. Now, did these indian participants register their protests? Did they put forth indian perspective?

    Congratulations MR. MMS, our beloved PM, and UPA for once again (CVC Thomas being the earlier gem) selecting a person like Padgaonkar, a man of impeccable integrity, to head a panel dealing with such a sensitive topic as Kashmir.

    Thanks Chandan Mitra, Swapan Dasgupta for this bitter tonic.:happy:
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2011
  4. Sanibhagwan

    Sanibhagwan 2nd Lieutant FULL MEMBER

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    These are nothing but dogs. Just throw them a juicy bone, they would show their loyalty to you. And these guys are very cheap. For a business class trip to US and generous hospitality they foul mouth anyone.

    There are a very few difference between these guys and a cheap wh**e. Actually, tagging along the former with the later is a insult to the later.
     
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