UN body declines consultative status to Fai KAC

Washington: A United Nations body has declined to accord special consultative status to the organisation of Kashmiri separatist Ghulam Nabi Fai, who has been arrested and charged for illegal lobbying for Pakistan.

The Committee on Non-Governmental Organisations, entrusted with the task of granting special consultative status to non-governmental organisations has removed the more than decade-old accreditation application of Kashmir American Council (KAC) headed by Fai.

Currently chaired by Maria Tzotzorkova of Bulgaria, the committee in its meeting held this week at the UN headquarters in New York decided to remove the KAC application seeking consultative status with the United Nations, which dates back to 1999, after Fai`s organisation failed to respond to its questions and also the three reminders send to it.

While UN officials did not say what were the questions asked to the KAC, diplomatic sources familiar with the issue said it was asked about its source of funding. Indian officials had raised objections to the application every time it came up for review.

In all, applications of 20 NGOs including at least two from India, were closed by the committee that met from January 30 to February 8.

The Committee will complete its work on February 17, 2012 when it adopts its report. Its recommendations will be sent to the Economic and Social Council of the UN for its approval in July this year.

The application of Indian NGOs which have been closed include Mahabodhi International Meditation Center, Leh, Ladakh; GGS Institute of Information Communication Technology India. Both of them did not respond to the questions and the three reminders sent by the NGO Committee.

Founded in 1990 by Fai, who was arrested last year on charges of receiving illegal money from the Inter-Services Intelligence of Pakistan and accused by the FBI of illegally working for them, KAC in 1999 applied to the Committee on Non-Governmental Organisations to get a consultative status with the world body.

In its application in 1999, KAC described itself as a US-based national organisation whose chief aim is international education and promotion of principles of human rights and human dignity, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, self-determination and fundamental freedoms for all, irrespective of race, religion, language or sexual preference.

Every time the application came for review or consideration, Indian officials raised objections to it and asked questions.

A screening of these questions reflects that much before the FBI charges about the funding of the KAC, Indian officials at the UN had raised questions on its source of funding, the answer to which was never satisfactory by the KAC.

Officials pointed out that several times in the past, the application of KAC was on the verge of being kicked out of the Committee, for the reason of not responding to questions and repeated reminders. But all these years KAC managed to keep its application alive, by submitting its response only at the last minute.

With Fai, who pleaded guilty to the FBI charges last year, now awaiting for sentencing, KAC now apparent decided to give up and did not respond to the questions and three reminders sent by the Committee on NGOs of the UN.

The Committee on Non-Governmental Organisations, which is responsible for vetting applications seeking consultative status with the Economic and Social Council, has 19 members.

Its members for the period 2011-2014 are Belgium, Bulgaria, Burundi, China, Cuba, India, Israel, Kyrgyzstan, Morocco, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Peru, Russian Federation, Senegal, Sudan, Turkey, United States of America, and Venezuela.

Notably the Committee`s decisions are considered recommendations, in the form of draft decisions calling for action by the Economic and Social Council.

The Council meets later in the year to review the recommendation of the NGO Committee and then makes the decisions final. It is only after the recommendation becomes an ECOSOC decision that the NGO is granted the consultative status.