Washington, DC: Expressing its profound dismay over the sudden abandonment of an even-handed South Asia policy by the US, a group of Pakistani-American organizations, federates as the Pakistan American National Alliance (PANA), has urged US President Barack Obama to make sure that the foreign policy shift does not result in a domestic witch hunt of those who may be apposed to this shift.
The First Amendment guarantees that the "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
In effect, the US Constitution guarantees the right of US citizens to lobby the US Congress "to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
Dr Fai's arrest appears to be an attack on the First Amendment rights of activists supporting the Kashmiri freedom movement. Banning the Kashmiri American Council (KAC), the premier Kashmiri-American organization, is tantamount to silencing any opposition to the oppressive Indian occupation of the disputed territory of Kashmir.
PANA has called on the civil rights communities of the United States to donate generously to Dr. Fai's legal defense fund to help defend 'due process" and the first amendment rights of all. To that end, PANA has set up an eight-member community outreach committee.
The PANA statement in part reads:
Whereas, Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai, a highly respected human rights activist, remains innocent till proven guilty in a court of law; and
Whereas, Dr. Fai has an inviolable right to a competent legal defense,
Therefore, let it be resolved that we call on all those who believe in the due process and equal justice to contribute generously to Dr. Fai;s legal defense fund; also to attend his hearings in large numbers.
For more information, please contact Dr. Muhammad Ashraf Toor: 815.353.5039.