Monday, July 25, 2011

The Lobbyist

Poor Dr Fai. Imprisoned for being ISI. That all powerful imperium in imperio [state within a state]. Uncle Bush, busy signing his own baseball cards these days, gave the Pakistanis well over $10 billion since 9/11. Pakistanis apportioned the largesse amongst themselves and some of it naturally went to ISI -- being the largest of the three intel service agencies of that country. The spy agency in turn threw some bits to lobbyists in the States, FBI claims. The Americans are basically saying now: oh we don’t give you sackfulls of sugar so that you make candies and market them here. You have to be a registered candy man.

And since we are a little grumpy at the moment, we will squeeze you a bit.

In reality the Americans don’t miss out on these things. They knew all along that Dr Fai was a top lobbyist for the Kashmir resistance movement. They knew that he gave small funds to congressmen. Everyone does that in DC. It is legit. There is a whole philosophical and legal framework to it. Each penny is accounted for. Now of course if the relationship between US sleuths and their Pakistani counterparts hits rock bottom, expect some legal brain in FBI to dust off the rule book of political funding by foreign governments. Notwithstanding the fact that Bush used to exchange texts with Fai.

Since the big media has gotten involved and NYT is following up on the news [which by the bye was swift to call the recent Norwegian bombing a Jihadi plot, before getting an egg on its face] US politicians of all hues are likely to shun Dr Fai like plague. Those ‘Dear Dr Fai’ letters from Bill [Clinton], which were re-printed faithfully by local dailies in Kashmir in the 90’s, text messages with Dubya, the dinner laughter with Dan Burton will all be forgotten. How could they know Fai was ISI? Nobody had a clue till yesterday. Okay we might be exaggerating here, perhaps Arnoub and Praveen [Indian clones of O'Reilly and Lawrence Auster respectively] had a hunch but no one in the US knew. That is for sure.

Fai is a US citizen and the law of the land is expected to deal with him without fear or favor if he really broke any rules. That he was at the helm of intense diplomatic efforts -- at age 62 to promote the plebiscite of Kashmir -- is as well known as Beatles. Whether he actually mixed up with the modern day version of Nazi Germany's Schutzstaffel -- read ISI -- shall be decided by a United States District Court in Virginia. As for Wadwan, a tiny village in Kashmir’s Budgam, where Fai was born, these are very wistful times.

© Sameer

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Peace Times

I loathe myself sometimes for not knowing too much Urdu. Every time I see people bartering couplets in Urdu, especially in Roman script on FaceBook, my envy is rekindled. Heck Geelani Sahib’s autobiography too is in Urdu. The boss of Indian army’s 15 Corps in Srinagar, Lt Gen Hasnain is currently going through the tome. The army PRO confirmed to journalists that Gen sahib is a voracious reader and likes Geelani sahib’s wolfish Urdu. He is reading page 144 at the moment. There are no sections in the book. Any pun is incidental.

Since this is the season of schemes, local journalists will soon get their share of the melon. Land is being finalized in Srinagar to be handed over to the press corps for housing. There will be separate zones for TV and Print guys. However it has been decided (perhaps at Devender’s insisting) that there be only one main entrance to the press mohalla. Sometimes when it becomes imperative to teach the natives a lesson or two in democracy, the gates can be bolted from outside. Simple.

Mufti Sahib has been appearing in papers oflate. That is always a bad omen. He starts off by saying innocuous little things (oh-you-see-I've-never-been-hungry-for-power-types) but soon blurts out something quite unexpected. A more seasoned and battle scarred player than Messrs Abdullahs' II and III, who are more prone to ad-libbing, Mufti is in his element when nothing untoward happens in Kashmir for more than a dozen weeks. A rival mainstream bloke in grey hair with a mic in hand talking in Kashmiri-accented Urdu. He completes the peace picture.

An Asiatic bear attacked someone in Srinagar the other day. The bear is reported to be in a fine shape and was seen making tracks close to the Zabarwan forest range on its back to the wilderness. It is said that in the wild one is more likely to be struck by lightning than to be attacked by a bear but these are strange times. Following an unusually big year for bear attacks, a seminar on how to meet a black, brown or polar bear and come out alive is being conducted in Tagore Hall.

Yes, you guessed it right. Doctor Sahib will make the keynote address.