Media on a Fai ride

If one goes through the 44-page criminal complaint, filed by the FBI, against Ghulam Nabi Fai, executive director of the Kashmiri American Council, one would find a plethora of clinching evidence to conclude that since mid-1989, Mr Fai had been virtually functioning in America as head of a branch of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

From the numerous emails and other documents, cited in the FBI’s complaint, it should be clear that the operational and financial parameters of the council were tightly controlled and it was required to follow the agenda set by the ISI. Every move that the council made and every event that it organised had the guiding hand of the ISI behind it. Even the “select-list” of the Indian and Pakistani journalist invited to the seminars held by it was provided by the ISI.
A few names of Indian journalists and intellectuals, who participated in the seminars organised at Washington by the council, have been critically mentioned in the media. In response, some of them have advanced the plea that they were unaware of the links between the council and the ISI. This plea has not impressed most Indians. They have argued asking, how is it that eminent journalists and intellectuals, who have vast experience of public affairs, especially of seminar circuits, and who are known for their ability to read between the lines, could not fathom the motives behind the invitation?
It is not possible to say with any degree of precision whether or to what extent the thinking of the Indian journalists and intellectuals was coloured by the free business-class air travel, stay in five-star hotels and other items of hospitality provided to them by the council. But one thing is quite clear. The views expressed by some of these journalists and intellectuals on certain significant matters, pertaining to Kashmir, were on the same wave length as those projected by the ISI and other agencies and collaborators of Pakistan as a part of their disinformation plan which itself was a key constituent of their overall plan of unleashing terror and subversion in Kashmir and simultaneously demonising those who stood against it. Let me elaborate this by drawing attention to the mass exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley in 1989-1990.
One of the objectives of the plan was to terrorise and drive out of the Valley all the “infidels” and “agents” of the Union. As a class, the Kashmiri Pandits, who were seen as the strongest pillars of the Indian edifice in the Valley and whom even Sheikh Abdullah, in his autobiography Atish-e-Chinar, had virtually labelled as “the spies and the fifth columnists of Delhi”, became the first target. The strategy was to kill one and make a thousand others fly away as frightened pigeons. Prominent members of the Pandit community were especially chosen for slaughter.
On September 14, 1989, BJP president Tikka Lal Taploo was brutally murdered in broad daylight in front of his house in Srinagar. Soon thereafter, on November 4, Judge N.K. Ganjoo, who had tried Maqbool Butt, considered a revolutionary by his supporters, on charges of terrorist acts committed in 1966 and 1975, was done to death on the busy thoroughfare of Hari Singh Street. This was followed by the merciless killing on December 28, 1989 of Anantnag-based journalist, P.N. Bhat, whose writings were not to the liking of the subversionists and terrorists. A number of other Kashmir Pandits, living in small towns and remote areas, suffered similar fate.
On January 16, 1990, a high-level delegation of All India Kashmiri Pandit Conference called upon the then Governor Gen. K.V. Krishna Rao (Retd) and submitted a detailed memorandum which bewailed: “Instead of the government, it is the militants who are the de facto rulers in the Valley today… Happenings in Anantnag, Sopore, Baramulla, Tral, Nurran, Pulwama, Ishber, Vicharnag, Shopian and other places in the Valley are indicative of the fundamentalists’ designs regarding their planned targets of attack on the minorities… The pace of exodus has further accelerated now… Not even a single assailant of the minority leaders and others has either been identified or apprehended by the police.”
Clearly, before the resignation of Dr Farooq Abdullah government, imposition of President’s rule in the state and my appointment as governor for the second term on January 19, 1990, the terrorists, subversionists and other pro-Pakistan elements held the Valley virtually in their jaws. Before, however, they could close their jaws and swallow the Valley, it was pulled back by a series of measures. All necessary steps were taken to stem the exodus of Kashmir Pandits. An idea about such steps can be formed from the contents of the government press note of March 7, 1990 which, said: “Jagmohan appealed to the members of the Pandit community who have temporarily migrated to Jammu to return to the Valley. He offered to set up temporary camps at four places, namely, Srinagar, Anantnag, Baramulla and Kupwara for those who return from Jammu.”
As my multi-pronged strategy started frustrating the designs of the ISI and other forces of terrorism and subversion, and as these forces were even otherwise hell-bent on destroying my agreeable image which existed in the mind of the common Kashmiri on account of the welfare and development work that I had done from early 1984 to early 1989, they made me a special target of their disinformation plan. All kinds of concocted excesses were foisted on me.
One of the patent falsehoods, assiduously spread, was that it was I who had brought about the migration of the Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley. This disinformation resorted to by the ISI and its network was reprehensible. But what was for more reprehensible was that some of the “eminent journalists”, who have now been discovered to be on the “select list” of Mr Fai’s council, had been giving expression to the same fabricated allegations. They ignored all the documented and contemporaneous evidence cited above and also the “warning notices” put out by some of the subversionists’ organisations themselves in the widely read Srinagar dailies, Aftah and Alsafa, requiring Kashmiri Pandits to leave the Valley, within 48 hours, failing which they would run the risk of being eliminated.
In face of these facts, what can we say about the journalist and “intellectuals” of the genre in question? Was the link between their views and those sought to be projected by the ISI and its outfits a matter of sheer coincidence or something more? No definite answer can be given. But it is a link that blinks, and sends signals for care and caution.

Jagmohan is a former governor of J&K and a former Union minister

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