Kashmiri Separatists Protest US Arrest of ‘Pakistani Agent’

Posted July 20th, 2011 at 12:10 pm (UTC-5)
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Kashmiri separatists are denouncing the U.S. arrest of a man accused of acting as a Pakistani “agent” tasked to influence U.S. policy on the disputed Himalayan region, which is divided between India and Pakistan.

U.S. authorities detained Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai, the executive director of the Kashmiri American Council, on Tuesday and charged him with being an unregistered agent of a foreign government. The U.S. Department of Justice says Fai lobbied American lawmakers on Kashmir using $4 million from the Pakistani government, including the country's spy agency.

Kashmiri separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani said Wednesday that Fai's arrest was carried out at the behest of India as part of a diplomatic conspiracy. He and other separatists called a strike in Indian-controlled Kashmir on Friday to protest the arrest.

As head of the Kashmiri American Council, Fai advocated against Indian rule in Kashmir, which is claimed in full by both India and Pakistan.

Muslim separatists have called for the region's independence from India or its merger with Muslim-majority Pakistan. Thousands have been killed in insurgency-related violence since the late 1980s.