Ghulam Nabi Fai

Dr-Ghulam-Nabi-FaiKashmir born American citizen, Ghulam Nabi Fai was released last week from prison after US federal court reduced his sentence by 15 per cent. He was scheduled to be released in March next year.

Fai was accused of illegally lobbying the US government for Pakistan over Kashmir. He was arrested on July 19, 2011 and sentenced to two years in jail in March 2012.

Moving a motion on November 15 Gordon Kromberg the Assistant United States Attorney cited the co-operation provided by Fai in bringing to book other culprits involved in the transfer of funds from ISI to the US to serve the cause of the Pakistan.

Fai was arrested at a time when relations between Pakistan and the United States were already strained in the aftermath of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, and while US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was on a visit to India.

On December 7, 2011, Fai pleaded guilty to conspiracy and tax evasion (both charges and faces five or more years in Federal prison).

Fai was born in the Wadwan village of central Kashmir’s Budgam district. He completed his graduation from Srinagar’s Sri Pratap College and then did MA from Aligarh Muslim University before studying on a scholarship in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

He then moved to the United States in 1977, earned a PhD in mass communications from Temple University, Pennsylvania. He became a US citizen in 1990.  He was a member of Jamaat-e-Islami during his college days. During his childhood days, he was friends with Hizbul Mujahideen leader, Muhammad Yusuf Shah, better known by his nom-de-guerre, Syed Salahudin. Fai was the executive director of the Kashmiri American Council (KAC), an organization based in Washington DC, at the time of his arrest. He started the KAC in 1990.

KAC is best known for holding “Kashmir Peace Conference” in Washington, D.C annually.

According to FBI, KAC organised conferences and lectures on Kashmir on foreign grants, KAC denied. Prosecutors allege Fai was paid between $500,000 and $700,000 per year by the government of Pakistan.

Soon after Fai arrest in 2011, Pakistan Embassy in Washington DC issued a statement claiming that “it had no knowledge” of Fai’s alleged ties with the Pakistani establishment, though he was a regular visitor to the Embassy.

His arrest was condemned by Kashmiri resistance leaders including Syed Ali Geelani who called his arrest “a conspiracy by India to weaken the freedom struggle in Kashmir”.

-Bilal Handoo

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