Masood Khan: 3 US lawmakers call for probe into terrorist links of Pak envoy Masood Khan

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Three influential US lawmakers have called for an investigation into allegations that Masood Khan, who has been confirmed as Pakistan’s ambassador to the US, has ties to terrorist and Islamist groups.

Pakistan said last month that the US government had approved Khan’s appointment as ambassador to Washington, days after a senior US congressman urged President Joe Biden to reject his diplomatic credentials and called him out. described as a “bona fide terrorist sympathizer”.

Khan, who was previously the “president” of Pakistani-occupied Kashmir (PoK) until August last year, was appointed Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States in November.

In their March 9 letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, lawmakers Scott Perry, W Gregory Steube and Mary E Miller said Khan’s close relationship with domestic actors linked to the Pakistani regime remains a key concern.

“It is vital to the national security of the United States that our government investigate any potential violation of the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) involving Ambassador Khan.

“He clearly supports terrorists, and if this administration is happy to provide him with a diplomatic visa, the American people deserve – at the very least – our government’s due diligence for a thorough investigation and answers,” the three lawmakers said. .

Stating that Pakistan has an extensive history of using American actors as agents of their government, the three lawmakers noted that in 2011, Virginia activist Ghulam Nabi Fai was charged by US prosecutors with serving secret agent of the Pakistani government.

“Fai pleaded guilty and admitted to having had numerous contacts with Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). It emerged that the ISI had transferred $3.5 million to Fai and his organization, the Kashmiri American Council,” they said.

After his release, Fai became involved with a new team, the World Kashmir Awareness Forum, and set out to form a partnership with Masood Khan. In May 2018, Fai’s group hosted an event in DC to highlight alleged “Indian atrocities” in Kashmir – an event where Masood Khan was the keynote speaker, they wrote.

In addition to continuing his pro-Pakistani work, Fai also appears to be a close representative of the Turkish regime, serving as a board member of a ruling regime entity called the Union of Islamic World NGOs (UNIW), an alleged front group. for the Erdogan regime’s paramilitary group, SADAT, according to the letter.

Leading a delegation of US 501(c)(3) Islamist organizations in 2018, UNIW and these US-based “charities” met with Masood Khan in his official capacity as “President of Pakistani Kashmir » ; that meeting included representatives and proxies of Kashmir-based violent Islamist groups, the letter said.

“Masood Khan has also been closely linked to Pakistani efforts to marginalize India in the United States.

“Even though Friends of Kashmir organized an event with two operatives linked to Lashkar-e-Taiba in 2017 (the US-designated terrorist group that carried out the deadly 2008 Mumbai bombings in which 166 people, including Americans, were killed), Masood Khan continued to meet regularly with the Friends of Kashmir leader, with social media posts highlighting several meetings at Mr Khan’s residence in Pakistan,” the three lawmakers said in the statement. letter.

Khan has also worked with groups such as the Pakistani-American Physicians Association of North America (APPNA), whose affiliate, PAKPAC, has worked closely with the Friends of Kashmir. The APPNA itself has been described by Imran Khan as Pakistan’s “most powerful” pressure group in the United States, they said.

“Furthermore, while Masood Khan was ‘President of Azad Kashmir’, a registered 501(c)(3) organization called Helping Hand for Relief and Development (HHRD) repeatedly received praise from Khan and his official office, which declared its commitment to “cooperation” with HHRD11 – even after the US Congress raised concerns about HHRD’s open cooperation with the designated terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba,” the letter said.

HHRD is an affiliate of the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), which Professor Vali Nasr of Johns Hopkins University has identified as one of the eight main branches of the Jamaat-e-Islami, an international Islamist movement responsible for the genocide during the 1971 Bangladesh War of Independence.

In 2019, the organizer of an ICNA/HHRD fundraiser was found guilty of lying to the FBI as part of a terrorist financing investigation, they wrote.

“Given the ambassador’s unusual closeness to the aforementioned Islamist groups, we call for an investigation into the nature of Mr. Khan’s relationship with them,” the lawmakers demanded.

The delay in appointing Khan as Islamabad’s envoy to Washington came at a time when relations between the United States and Pakistan have turned frosty.

Washington views ties with Pakistan through the prism of its strategic competition with China, although Islamabad has repeatedly said it is not part of any camp politics.

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