Mirwaiz Umer Controlled by ISI: US Attorney

Lalit K Jha/Washington
Mirwaiz Umer Controlled by ISI: US Attorney
Separatist Kashmiri leader and Chairman of the moderate Hurriyat Conference Mirwaiz Umer Farooq is "supported and controlled" by ISI, a US Attorney has claimed before a court.

The Attorney Neil H MacBride made the claim before the US District Court in Alexandria, Virginia, ahead of the scheduled sentencing of Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai who had set up an organisation Kashmiri American Council in the US to promote the separatist cause.

Fai, who was arrested last year on charges of being a paid agent of ISI, has submitted the names of 53 individuals from Pakistan, India and the US in his support and all of them have urged the District Judge Liam O'Grady to give the Kashmiri separatist a lighter sentence.

The Mirwaiz, who is among those who has written letters of support, returned to New Delhi from Jeddah this morning but could not be reached for his comments. However, his spokesperson Shahid-ul-Islam said from Srinagar that the Mirwaiz would be issuing a statement on the allegation tomorrow.

MacBride made a 10-page submission to the court in which he stated that many of those who had written the letters in support of Fai had failed to disclose facts which might undermine their credibility before the court.

In a footnote, he linked the Mirwaiz to the ISI and said that another letter-writer was copied on at least 26 e-mails from Pakistan's intelligence agency to Fai.

Those who have written support letters include Rajmohan Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, a Jammu editor Ved Bhasin and well-known civil rights activist Gautam Navlakha.

The Attorney alleged that Navlakha was "introduced to an ISI General for recruitment by Fai at ISI's direction".

When contacted in Jharkhand, Navlakha rubbished the allegation and said, "it is pretty ridiculous. You have to find out on what basis he made that comment. I don't know why he said that. It is such an atrocious statement."

Navlakha said he criticised Fai in the support letter for not disclosing the source of funding as per US laws but supported his clemency because of political reasons.
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