'Pakistani Spies' In The Houses Of Parliament12 August 2011
London: The Justice Foundation has received messages of support from Tony Blair while prime minister, and set up a conference attended by Baroness Warsi, now co-chairman of the Conservative Party. But the group is alleged to have been promoting Pakistani interests in the long-running conflict between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan over the disputed border region of Kashmir, using millions of dollars of covert funding. The scandal follows the arrest last year of Katia Zatuliveter, a House of Commons researcher accused of being a Russian spy. On Tuesday the FBI arrested Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai, a US citizen from Fairfax, Virginia, accusing him of running an organisation called the Kashmiri American Council while acting as an agent of a foreign power. The Daily Telegraph can disclose that Fai was also director of the Justice Foundation based in Bloomsbury, central London, alongside three British men and two Indian nationals, one of them based in Saudi Arabia. US prosecutors claim that three “Kashmir Centers” in Washington, London and Brussels, are run on behalf of “elements of the Pakistani government, including Pakistan’s military intelligence service, the Inter-Services Intelligence Agency (ISI).” The British organisation claims it is a “non-partisan, non-governmental organisation that seeks justice and peace for the oppressed people of Jammu and Kashmir, not aligning itself with any of the political parties of India or Pakistan.” It says it “does not campaign for a resolution of the dispute in accordance with the wishes of either of those two countries.” The foundation says it aims to “keep the issue of human rights and the conflict in Kashmir on the political and diplomatic agendas” and “through a variety of programmes it aims to educate politicians and the public.” Pakistan has fought a proxy war in Kashmir over a number of decades using fighters funded by the ISI, some of whom have later turned to international terrorism. The foundation hosted Maulana Fazlur Rehman, whose party the JUI is said to have links to the Taliban, during a controversial visit to Britain last year. The Justice Foundation has also organised a two day conference at the Hilton Hotel on Park Lane and in the House of Commons in March 2006 which welcomed speakers from across the world to “share their expertise and wisdom for finding routes towards a conflict resolution on Kashmir,” according to a report later posted on their website. Messages of support and good wishes were read out from Tony Blair, then the Prime Minister and Ken Livingston, then the Mayor of London, and from the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, and Sir Jonathon Sacks, the Chief Rabbi. Among those who addressed the conference were the Labour MPs Martin Salter, then secretary of the all party parliamentary group on Kashmir, and Khalid Mahmood, along with the Tory MP Humfrey Malins. The conference resulted in the “London Declaration” which urged that the “leaders of the freedom struggle should be made an integral component of the peace process” and the “atmosphere of fear and repression should cease forthwith in Occupied Kashmir.” At an earlier conference on the Pakistan earthquake Hilary Benn, then the International Development Minister, was the keynote speaker. That event was attended by representatives from the Department for International Development (DFiD) as well as Islamic Relief and Oxfam. Tory politicians included Baroness Warsi, then vice-chairman of the Conservative Party, and MP Paul Goodman as well as the Lib Dem MP Paul Rowen. The organisation ran an event in the House of Lords last year chaired by Lord Ahmed, the Labour peer, who also registered a trip to Pakistan and Azad Kashmir from February 19 to 27 this year in the register of member’s interests, for which the travel and accommodation was provided by Justice Foundation and the government of Azad Kashmir. Professor Nazir Ahmad Shawl, executive director of the foundation in London, says he has had a “distinguished academic career as both a researcher and lecturer, followed by a number of beneficial and edifying years in the print media and extensive experience working in the field of international human rights” in a biography on the organisation’s website. It says he has a degree in education and a masters degree in science, after which he lectured on botany, philosophy and teaching methodologies and was a research officer in Indian Kashmir. A telephone number for the foundation was not connected and no one responded to an email request for comment. The Pakistan High Commission also failed to respond to a request for comment.