Kashmiri Leader Denounces US Arrest, Calls Protests on Friday

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Srinagar, July 20: Senior separatist Kashmiri leader Syed Ali Geelani has denounced the arrest of a Kashmiri-born man on the suspicion of allegedly playing as conduit for the Pakistani government to influence the American policy makers on the issue of Kashmir.

Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai, the Washington based executive director of the Kashmiri American Council (KAC) was arrested Tuesday from his Virgina residence by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI.

Along with another citizen of the United States of America, Zaheer Ahmad, he was charged with receiving 4 million US dollars from the Pakistani government from 1990 onwards to run a campaign for “right of self determination” for Kashmiris. However, the Pakistan embassy has distanced itself from him saying that he was not a Pakistani national. Zaheer, according to US officials is at large and reportedly in Pakistan.

“The arrest of Ghulam Nabi Fai by the FBI in US was an act of conspiracy of India and will not deter the Kashmir movement. The arrest was undertaken without any evidence. This conspiracy of India is aimed to weaken our struggle but it won’t weaken our movement at any level,” senior Kashmiri separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani said.

He also said Dr Fai has been an undeterred advocate of the Kashmir cause and India through diplomatic channels and wants to suppress him but he is stronger than ever. “Fai has been active for last 32 years highlighting the plight of his people. Because of his unflinching advocacy of the Kashmir cause at the international level, he had become an eyesore for India,” the senior separatist leader said.

Denouncing his arrest by FBI, Geelani appealed to the people in Kashmir to hold peaceful demonstrations after Friday prayers on July 22 to protest against Fai’s arrest.

He urged the US administration to set free Dr Fai at the earliest.

Several other separatist Kashmiri leaders have also condemned Fai’s arrest and demanded his immediate and unconditional release.

“We have always considered America a country which respects the cause of Kashmir and we hope they release Fai soon,” said a senior separatist leader, Shah Ahmad Shah.