Dr. Fai to Work for the Cause of Kashmir during Incarceration
By Abdus Sattar Ghazali
Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai, the Executive Director of Kashmiri American Council, says that 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 He pointed out that the prosecution had withdrawn charges initially leveled against him to be the agent of a foreign government.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 30 th 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 having said: "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 has 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 and Kashmir.
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 other states.
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 and Justice.
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.
Naeem Beg, the Vice President of the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) was MC of the Muslim leaders gathering held to support Dr. Fai and the right of self-determination for Kashmiri people. 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.
Mrs Qadr Chang Fai
Mrs. 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.”
“I am 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
Dr. Hatem Bazian, Professor at the University of California , Berkeley , was of the view that the second half of the 20 th century and the beginning of the 21 st 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.
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.”
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 had 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 line.
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.
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