Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
Dr. Fai to Continue Work for the Cause of
Kashmir During Incarceration
By Abdus Sattar Ghazali
Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, June 28, 2012
Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai, the Executive Director of Kashmiri American Council,
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 gathering of American Muslim leadership and well-wishers 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prosecution had withdrawn charges initially leveled against him to be the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.
Dr. Fai begins a two-year imprisonment term on June 26 for violating
certain 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.
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 Fai is the Executive Director of
the Washington based Kashmiri American Council Kashmir Center. 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.
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
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 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
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.
During the trial, Dr. Fai was greatly honored and supported by people from
all faiths. Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Zoroastrians, and
even atheists wrote dozens of letters regarding Dr. Fai to the judge.
These were people from the Unites States, United Kingdom, Netherlands,
Norway, Denmark, Thailand, India, Pakistan, Canada, Bahrain, Qatar, Turkey,
from both sides of the ceasefire line in Kashmir, and many other countries.
The courtroom was filled to capacity with people who came from places like
California, Kansas, Illinois, Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland,
Virginia, Washington DC, North Carolina, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and
Although initially charged under the FARA [Foreign
Agents Registration Act] as an unregistered agent of Pakistan, Dr. Fai was
never convicted on this allegation, which seemed clearly intended to support
negotiations the U.S. and Hillary Clinton were engaged in with India at the
time, according to Paul Barrow, Director of United Progressives and the
Director of American Affairs for the International Council for Human Rights
American Muslim leadership
An array of American
Muslim leaders and civil rights advocates also spoke at the gathering held
at the San Francisco Bay Area’s popular Chandni banquet hall in
Fremont/Newark. The event was sponsored by the American Muslim Alliance
(AMA) and the Islamic Society of North America. Among the speakers were Imam
Zaid Shakir, Zaytuna College in Berkeley, California; Dr. Imtiaz Khan,
Vice-President of the Kashmiri American Council, Dr. Hatem Bazian, Professor
at the University of California, Berkeley; Dr. Agha Saeed, Chairman of the
American Muslim Alliance (AMA); Dr. Mohammad Ahmadullah Siqqidui, Professor
of Journalism and Public Relations at Western Illinois University, Macomb,
Illinois; Naeem Beg, the Vice President of the Islamic Circle of North
America (ICNA); Mark Hinkle, former chairman of the US Libertarian Party and
Edward Hasbrouck, author and freelance journalist.
The program began
with an address via Skype link by the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front leader,
Yasin Malik, from Srinagar. He spoke about the atrocities caused by the
Indian forces. He said the basic reason of unrest in the state is the
usurpation of our freedom and prolonging of solution to our political
problems,” he said, adding that there will be peace once the Kashmir issue
is resolved in accordance with the wishes and aspirations of its people.
Yasin Malik said that at present the struggle of the Kashmiri people is a
non-violent movement and if the global community did not give attention,
this may be turned into a violent movement.
The plight of Pakistani
neuroscientist, Dr. Afia Siddiqui, echoed at the gathering of American
Muslim leaders when Dr. Afia’s brother Dr. Ahmed Siddiqui addressed the
audience via phone. Dr. Afia is serving 86-year imprisonment. She was tried
on charges of trying to kill American soldiers in Afghanistan in July 2008
and sentenced in September 2010.
Mrs Qadr Chang Fai
Qadr Chang Fai made a very moving speech. She thanked everybody for
supporting her husband at this critical moment and said life is a journey
and each and every day or year is just like you peel an onion, it doesn’t
matter how careful you are, it sometimes causes tears. She went on to say
that “sometimes obstacles and difficulties let us know what is our weakness
and it gives us a chance and opportunity to make us strong.”
sure when my husband returns, after two years vacation, he will come up
fresh, strong and we will again work for the cause of Kashmir,” she said
adding: “This chapter is over and together we flip the page and start a
fresh new chapter of Kashmir’s history. We will make sure that we achieve
the goal and the goal is that liberty bell rings at every corner of Kashmir
which is the paradise on the earth.”
Dr. Hatem Bazian
Hatem Bazian, Professor at the University of California, Berkeley, was of
the view that the second half of the 20th century and the beginning of the
21st century entered into the post-colonial era but Kashmir and Palestine
remain in the colonial era (i.e. India and Israel). He said both the people
of Kashmir and Palestine are suffering at the hands of occupiers.
(There are many points of similarity between Kashmir and Palestine. Both are
the result of the partitioning of a country (India in one case, Palestine in
the other); both were formerly under British rule; and both were partitioned
in 1947. It will not be too much to say that the year India and Israel
celebrate their birthday is actually the birthday of these two conflicts,
perhaps the two deadliest unresolved conflicts of our times.)
Hatem Bazian said that sometime it is suggested that we should have
non-violent movement, I say that we are non violent. Occupations are the
most violent manifestations of the structure of violence. “Population is
always act as non-violent, while the states which occupy set up violent
He said that Kashmir is on the global chess board. “The
United States wants India to balance China, because if there is a conflict
with China, we always like that the darker people fight our war and the more
these people die is better for the officers because racism can be manifested
across many sectors.”
On the other hand, he said, Israel has a
periphery foreign policy which means where ever possible divert Muslim
resources outside the periphery so that they cannot support the Palestinian
struggle. He said it is India and Pakistan where most pro-Palestine
sentiments prevail. He recalled that “in 1931 after the incident of the
Wailing Wall, a conference was held by the Indian subcontinent Muslims and
only 350,000 people showed up. Today if we have a gathering of 25,000
people, we are very happy. But the organizers of the 1931 rally apologized
the Palestinian delegation that we are sorry that everybody didn’t show up.”
Alluding to Dr. Fai’s case, Dr. Bazian said that “in the post-9/11 era
there is strategic and systematic process of targeting the Muslim leadership
of organizational structures by eliminating the existing leadership that has
developed over the last 40 years studying together, graduating together, you
disrupt the civic political engagement in the country and second you allow
infiltrators those who are on the pay role of government to just cause
He went on to say that Dr. Fai is targeted because he
is successful. “It is because of his ability to transcend from this small
area of his work and to reach out beyond the confines and be very effective
100,000 Kashmiris killed in the last two decades
Dr Imtiaz Khan, Vice-President of the Kashmiri American Council was
another major speaker at the gathering. In his speech Dr. Khan said that
more than 100,000 Kashmiris have been killed by Indian military and
paramilitary personnel over the last two decades.
He deplored the silence of the international community because of India's
nuclear and economic strength. He said that the United Nations with a moral
obligation to intervene on behalf of the people of Kashmir; and, that the
United Nations should strengthen its monitoring force along the cease-fire
It may be pointed out that the UN Special Rapporteur’s report on India’s
human rights violations was released the same day when Dr. Fai’s verdict was
announced. The UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary
executions, Christof Heyns released an interim report at the end of his
12-day visit to Jammu & Kashmir and the states of Gujrat, Kerala, Assam and
West Bengal, terming the Armed Forces Special Powers Act as a symbol of
excessive state power that has resulted in consuming innocent lives in Jammu
and Kashmir and Indian state Assam.
Christof Heyns told reporters in New Delhi that the Armed Forces Special
Powers Act allows the state to override rights and has no role in a
democracy. Under the law, troops have the right to shoot anyone suspected of
being a rebel and to arrest suspected militants without a warrant.
“This law has been described to me as ‘hated,’ and a member of a state
human rights commission has called it draconian,” said Heyns. The special
powers law has been in force in different parts of the country since 1958
and is currently enforced in Indian-administered Kashmir and in the states
of Manipur and Nagaland in the northeast, all battling separatist movements.
In all three regions, human rights workers have accused Indian troops of
illegally detaining, torturing and killing rebel suspects, sometimes even
staging gun battles as pretexts to kill.
The law also prohibits soldiers from being prosecuted for alleged rights
violations unless granted express permission from the federal government.
According to official documents, the state government in Indian Kashmir has
sought permission to try soldiers in 50 cases in the last two decades, but
the federal government has refused every one.