Spy spice

Spy spice

Ghulam Nabi Fai’s arrest in the United States on charges of being a paid agent of the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan has stirred a hornets’ nest here in India. His organisation, the Kashmiri American Council, reportedly received large funds from the ISI towards lobbying of US politicians on the Kashmir issue. More importantly, his international seminars on Kashmir were also financed by the ISI. This has raised valid concern in India as several prominent Indian journalists and opinion makers have participated in them. According to the FBI affidavit, the ISI instructed Fai on whom to invite to the seminars. Pro-Pakistan resolutions were passed at these seminars.
Confirmation of Fai’s ISI links might have come only last week with his arrest by the FBI. But that he is a dubious character who assiduously peddled a pro-Pakistan agenda for over two decades was widely known. His ISI connections would not come as a surprise to anyone who has interacted with him or read about the KAC’s activities.

 By participating in Fai’s seminars, the Indian journalists and opinion makers did not violate any law. However, their participation raises troubling questions. Several of these participants claim they were not aware of Fai’s ISI connections, which might well be true, but they ought to have known better. The KAC’s commitment to the dismemberment of India was no secret. A simple search on Google would have revealed that. The Indian participants cannot escape responsibility for giving Fai’s divisive agenda respectability.  Even if they had attended the seminar naively, participation should have opened their eyes. Surely they could have distanced themselves subsequently from the divisive, anti-Indian agenda of the conference. That they did not is worrying.

 Among those who were beneficiaries of Fai’s – and thus the ISI’s - hospitality if not largesse was the Centre’s interlocutor on the Jammu and Kashmir issue, Dileep Padgaonkar. Some are understandably worried if Fai influenced Padgaonkar, for instance. Simply feigning or claiming ignorance isn’t good enough. When doubts creep into the minds of the public they need to be dispelled. Participants should therefore clarify what transpired at Fai’s seminars. This will also help clear their own names. L’affaire Fai should serve as a warning to others to look before they leap into what is now the murky world of spies and seminars.

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