‘Kashmir group in US released ISI statements verbatim’ (With ISI agent held in US for illegal lobbying on Kashmir)

July 20th, 2011 - 10:29 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, July 20 (IANS) The Washington-based Kashmir group, whose head was arrested for allegedly being a Pakistani agent involved in illegal lobbying, used to issue verbatim the statements relayed by the Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI), according to prosecutors.

Ghulam Nabi Fai, 62, was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for having received million of dollars from the ISI to lobby Congress and the White House and funnel the contributions to Republicans and Democrats and tilt their Kashmir opinion in favour of Pakistan.

An informant told the FBI that Fai was handpicked to head the Kashmiri American Council by the ISI, which provided “verbatim” statements that were disseminated by the group, according to the Washington Post.

The news of Fai’s was splashed by major US newspapers with the Post quoting the informant saying that the the council was created “to propagandize on behalf of the government of Pakistan with the goal of uniting Kashmir”.

The group is best known for organizing an annual Kashmir peace conference on Capitol Hill in the US.

A criminal complaint filed in Alexandria against Fai and a second defendant, Zaheer Ahmad, outlines a long-running and elaborate plot in which Pakistani intelligence officials exercised de facto control over the Kashmiri council, which sponsored well-attended conferences in Washington, organized congressional trips to Kashmir and met with State Department and White House officials.

Although billed as independent, speakers and materials for the event were actually approved by the Pakistani government, according to the criminal complaint.

“This is essentially the uncovering of an illegal influence operation that’s been going on for decades here in Washington, with Pakistani fingerprints all over it,” said Daniel Markey, a senior fellow for India, Pakistan and South Asia at the Council on Foreign Relations.

“They are relatively prominent lobbying faces in the small community of people who follow Kashmir.”

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