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Saturday, August 27, 2011

NAC's Harsh Mander's link with Pakistan's ISI [Ghulam Nabi Fai "interface"]

The Mainstream Media [MSM] in India has, as of 27th August 2011, been on a spree of unrelenting, unceasing coverage of a fast undertaken by a gentleman named Anna Hazare. For the past 12-odd days, beamed through the airways into our living rooms is a macabre spectacle of a septuagenarian man killing himself slowly via a self-imposed starvation, egged on by a cheering crowd of ~15000 [generous] around him. Doctors, who have taken an oath to ensure their patient's good health & well-being, look-on without acting against it, even as his health deteriorates.

Television viewer in India has been trippin' on this heady concoction of death-threats, rage, blackmailing, infused with the hyperbole-induced melodramatic narration by television news reporters, anchors & ably assisted by "experts" invited by the channels. However, in midst of this melee, one crucial, & potentially damaging bit of news has found absolutely no coverage at all in any form of media.


Harsh Mander, NAC member, associated with Pakistani intelligence front organisation, the Justice Foundation, run by Ghulam Nabi FaiOn the 15th of August this year, ironically the day India celebrates as Independence Day, a forum member pointed out to an association that should have [or, has already had] serious, debilitating impact on the governance of the country. A gentleman, named Harsh Mander [on the left], who is currently on the board of members of a national body, ostensibly named India's "National Advisory Council" [NAC] was found to be on the working group of an organisation that called itself the Justice Foundation. His name, as can be seen, has been listed on the organisation's website. This particular Working Group, as they've called it, had been set up in relation to the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir.

Now, the reason Harsh Mander's association with this Justice Foundation is a potential breach of security at the upper echelons of India's power structure, & compromises the credibility & integrity of the NAC is because the organisation has been found to be run by an American, named Ghulam Nabi Fai. The person [Fai] has since been arrested by the American authorities, though now out on bail, for acting on behalf of Pakistan's intelligence agency, the Inter Services Intelligence [ISI], taking orders from them to further its agenda in America, in a manner that contravenes U.S. laws.

Harsh Mander, member, working group on Jammu & Kashmir, Justice Foundation, Pakistani front organisation

Kashmir Background

As would be known to those who keep tab on events occurring in the Indian sub-continent, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan lays claim on the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir & is in illegal occupation of nearly 1/3rd of the state, in violation of a United Nations resolution passed in 1948. In pursuance of their agenda of dismembering India & integrating the state within its fold, Pakistan, or more specifically its de-factor rulers, the Pakistan Army, for many decades, has engaged in an uninterrupted act of sponsoring Islamic terrorism to carry out attacks & killing of population in India. In the same vein, it has funded & started front organisations, like the aforementioned Justice Foundation, around the world to push for the acceptance of its stand & try to use the influence of the government of the host country they are based in, to coerce the Republic of India into acquiescing to Pakistani demands, however illegitimate they are.

While elaborating on the illegitimacy of Pakistani demands would entail digressing from the issue I want to highlight, it should be sufficient to state, India is completely opposed to these Pakistani demands. Keeping this Indian stand in mind, it would not be wrong to expect that all Indians, especially those involved in the policy-making of the country, act towards the furtherance of this stand & refrain from any activity that hurts India's national interests.

Ghulam Nabi Fai, American citizen, arrested for acting on behalf of Pakistan Army-controlled intelligence agency, the ISI. Also, Director of the UK-based Justice Foundation, another pakistani front organisationYet, in complete contravention of these expectations, Harsh Mander has willingly been party to an organisation, the Justice Foundation, run by people [Ghulam Nabi Fai (to the right) & his associates, Nazir A. Shawl], long known to Indian intelligence agencies & foreign ministry staffers of the country to be the front-men of Pakistani ISI. It is, therefore, pertinent to ask of Mr. Mander, as to why he chose to associate his name & work with an organisation that has been specifically setup by Pakistan to kowtow & propagate the Pakistani line & push for casting India falsely in light of an antagonistic intransigent belligerent, completely whitewashing Pakistan's own grave violations & machinations towards effecting death & destruction in India, especially Jammu & Kashmir, to achieve its motives. Any Indian reactionary measures & associated misdeeds, inadvertent most of them may be, is simply a result of the aftermath to this Pakistani ingress into India's affairs.

Surely a person as capable as Mr. Harsh Mander who, at one time, was a Civil Service officer in India, a highly respected government official, that only the very bright in India can aspire to become, could not have been blind to their agenda. Also the fact that Mr. Ghulam Nabi Fai, a known Pakistan serf was the one running the show, would itself have precluded any well-meaning Indian from taking part in any of its activities, that works towards legitimizing & promoting the Pakistani stand & actions & discrediting the Indian one. Despite such glaring indicators, the fact that Mr. Mander willingly associated himself with a Pakistani front organisation, speaks gravely of his leanings & motives towards Indian interests.

NAC implications

People who know Mr. Harsh Mander would also know that he sits on the panel of the recently constituted India's National Advisory Council [NAC]. It is important to note the fact that the creation of the NAC was a relatively recent development - less than 10 years have passed.

The reason it was constituted too are interesting & quite extra-Constitutional, if I may add. At different points of time its objectives have been identified differently. Initially it recognised itself as a body which would oversee the Common Minimum Programme promised by the government in 2004. Currently it is identified more by its claim of acting as the interface between the government & India's civil society.

It is telling of the way NAC wishes to portray its role & has fashioned its objectives - it wants to convince the citizens of India that a group of self-appointed individuals [the civil society] are more representative of the needs & aspirations of the common people of the country than the democratically elected politicians, who have received the mandate to govern, in whatever manner, by these very common people of India for the duration of 5 years, & thus they require special access [through NAC's "interface"] to these elected politicians of the country. Yet, despite being better aware of people's needs & in sync with them, these members of the civil society have never been able to win any elections. The NAC's mission hardly sounds convincing, does it?

A more plausible explanation of this extra-Constitutional authority could be traced back to the events that unfolded post-elections in India 2004. Having been elected as the single largest party in the Parliament then, the Congress was all set to stake claims to form the government by cobbling together a coalition of the willing, smaller parties. As the leader of the party with the largest number of elected politicians, & herself one such elected Member of Parliament [MP], Mrs. Sonia Gandhi, widow to the slain Prime Minister Mr. Rajiv Gandhi, daughter in-law to the slain Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi & granddaughter in-law to the deceased Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, was very much within her rights to ascend to the post of the Prime Minister of India.

Mrs. Sonia Gandhi, leader of the Ruling Party of India, the Congress party, leader of the ruling coalition of India, United Progressive Alliance [UPA], but not the Prime minister of India. Heads the National Advisory Council [NAC]. Seen here, perhaps, blessing the country.However, the opposition political parties latched on to the fact that she, born in Italy to Italian parents, of a father who had association with Fascism, continued to retain her Italian citizenship for long after her marriage to Mr. Rajiv Gandhi & settling down in India, living in the opulent living accommodations provided to Indian Prime Ministers. Citing her delayed revocation of her Italian citizenship as the reason for being less of an Indian after she did acquire an Indian citizenship, the opposition launched a campaign to prevent the leader of the single largest party of the Parliament from becoming India's Prime Minister. It included a lady politician who promised to tonsure her [own] head & keep it that way for the rest of her life if Sonia Gandhi went ahead & became Prime Minister.

Thus, as a gesture of "supreme sacrifice" owing to the "love of for her adopted nation", in a chaotic scene being beamed out of one of the congregation halls in the Parliament, Mrs. Sonia Gandhi announced that she would be relinquishing her option of becoming the Prime Minister of India. Instead, she proposed the name of Dr. Manmohan Singh, a brilliant economist, who introduced 1st generation economic reforms in India, that ushered in rapid economic development & poverty alleviations in the country during the 1990s - further reforms since then have stalled. However, what is also equally true of our current Prime Minister is that he has never won any elections held in India to date where the common citizen could have directly voted him to power. Each time he has been elected, instead, to the Upper House of the Parliament [Rajya Sabha] on strength of the vote cast by the Congress party MLA/MLCs in the state legislatures.

Thus, it would not be incorrect to say that India, which follows democratic form of government, has a Prime Minister who is not a direct representative of the people he rules over as he has not been directly voted to power by them. While not an illegal action in itself per se, since the Constitution of our country has laid down no such exception clause to become the PM, it is certainly something that is not in sync with the principles of democracy - people's representation.

Even while Mrs. Sonia Gandhi, announced her decision to decline the post of PM-ship  of the country, she continues to retain her position as the leader of her political party & also became the leader of the coalition, the United Progressive Alliance [UPA] that is currently in power in India since 2004, having been re-elected in 2009. So, in effect, the Prime minister of the Republic of India, is not only subordinate to the leader of the ruling coalition is administering, but is also not the head of his own political party - a subordinate position he holds even there. The warrant of precedence [PDF] in India states that the Prime Minister of India shall be subordinate only to the President & Vice-President of the the country. Go figure.

Mrs. Sonia Gandhi, leader of the Ruling Party of India, the Congress party, leader of the ruling coalition of India, United Progressive Alliance [UPA], but not the Prime minister of India. Heads the National Advisory Council [NAC]Meanwhile, having given up her rightful claim to head an India government, yet retaining her primacy, a way had to be found for her to exercise her authority over the government. Thus, an arbitrary, extra-Constitutional body, the National Advisory Council [NAC] was set up. She was appointed head of the body & has continued to hold the position since then. In effect, the NAC is a body to oversee the functioning of the elected government & also empowered to draft legislations & suggest changes to others before being tabled in the Parliament for enactment - as evident, it is an authority higher than the elected Government itself. A supra-government without any responsibility or accountability to the people of the country. The definition of democracy being by the people, for the people & of the people somehow does not seem to fit the paradigm of NAC's functioning.

Since then, it has begun promoting itself as an "interface" between the government & the "civil society" of India. It begets a question, whether this civil society has arrived on Earth & settled in India from a different galaxy? If not why do they need a special interface with the government & why am I, an ordinary, honest, hardworking citizen of India being denied the benefits of using this "interface" - I am civil & a part of this society, but I also elected my interface with the government to power - the politician, as do the rest of the Indians. Then, of what use is a NAC to anybody in this civilized Indian society. Why does the civil society, like the rest of us, not interface with the government by electing their chosen candidate to the legislature? Could it be because what they wish to impose upon people does not find resonance with the rest of the people, the majority & hence they fail to have their way through valid legislative means. If that be the case, what right to they have to subvert the will of the people & enforce its own ideas by by-passing laid down norms & hijacking due process of policy formation. Does it not imply that NAC believes that a handful of people in India know what is best for the rest of us. This hardly sounds like a democracy. In fact, it absolutely & unequivocally is not a democracy, but a communist-inspired dictatorship - a police state masquerading as a democracy.

Interestingly, between the period 2006 to 2010, while she had become disqualified to head NAC owing to her other affiliations, it had become defunct for all practical purposes. It was only after she ascended back to head NAC, that it resumed wielding influence to get the Government of India to pass bills drafted by its board members. Some major bills passed by the Parliament, which were drafted & forwarded [or currently being proposed] to the Parliament by the NAC:

India's National Advisory Council [NAC] members - Sonia Gandhi, M.S. Swaminathan, Ram Dayal Munda, Narendra Jadhav, Pramod Tandon, Aruna Roy, Madhav Gadgil, Naresh C. Saxena, A.K. Shiva Kumar, Deep Joshi, Anu Aga, Farah Naqvi, Harsh Mander, Mirai Chatterjee

As can be seen, the biggest Acts that were enacted by the Parliament & affect the Indian society & social structure were essentially drafted by the council members appointed to NAC in consultation with its Chairman, Mrs. Sonia Gandhi, who educational qualifications are indeterminate. These were then passed on to the government for getting legislated in the Parliament. Save for any bill that would have grave & detrimental implication on their prospects of getting re-elected, the government would not have much of a hesitation in passing these bills, coming from their leader the bill is.

It would be outrageous to claim that a solitary, possibly tainted Harsh Mander can single-handedly, hoodwink the entire NAC board, composed of highly educated & experienced individuals & influence them in drafting laws that would hurt & subvert India's well-being. However, in light of the fact that Mr. Mander has had working relationship with Pakistani intelligence agencies, via an "interface", the Justice Foundation, would it not be pertinent to probe the extent to which he had been compromised, if at all. If his guilt is proven, should he not be tried on basis of those charges, sedition, if it comes to that. Would it also not be pertinent to examine the role played by Mr. Harsh Mander in drafting the bills that have been approved in the Parliament thus far & examine if any of his accepted inputs could have been made at the behest of external agencies inimical to India, in order to stoke internal problems which could then be exploited by them. While the gentlemen is being probed would it not be fair to ask him to step down from his position at NAC, till the time his name is cleared so that the integrity of NAC remains inviolate & its functioning remain untainted by charges of sedition?

Yet, no such actions have been taken & the person, still occupies his position in the NAC & is invited by media houses to appear on television, & voice his opinion & airing suggestions on matters affecting India.

Media Reaction

It would have been natural to expect of the Indian media to jump up with glee & latch on to this news of a possible compromise of National security at the highest decision making body of the country, & dedicate a fair portion of airtime covering this news. Scandals, after all, raise Television ratings like no other & are proven advertisement magnets for media houses. As we saw, when Ghulam Nabi Fai was first exposed in the USA for working on behest of the Pakistani, these very news channels and newspapers spent lot more than merely 'considerable amount of time' reporting about it. They also brought into sharp focus the associations of, incidentally, Indian "civil society" members who had been associated with Fai in some form or the other. Similarly, earlier, when Indian embassy staff member in Pakistan, Miss. Madhuri Gupta was asked to come back to India & arrested on her arrival for having being found complicit in spying at the behest of Pakistan, the media again went all-out covering the arrest & probing every aspect of it.

While these civil society members in India are the most visible faces, owing to their propensity for hopping from one news television studio to another, voicing their opinion on every matter under the sun, their actual impact in India's policy making has limitations, outside the government setup that they are. Yet, now, that an important member of India's policy making has been found to have such seditious associations with the Intelligence agency of a foreign country, there is an absolute & unnatural silence in the media on this matter. Not one media outlet, be it television, newspaper or periodical, has found it an important enough a news to report. How unfortunate, if not criminal.

I Googled Mr. Harsh Mander's name along with that of Ghulam Nabi Fai, and the following was the result I got.

Click on the image to view a larger-sized picture

Search Results pointing to Harsh Mander's association with Pakistani front organisation, the Justice Foundation - a miniscule number

I mere 2620 results. A look at the result would also reveal that most of these 2600 odd results, in fact, direct to comments posted by visitors on someone's blog or under a related news report at the site of a MSM outlet. But no article has been written by the media themselves highlighting this connection between Harsh Mander & Ghulam Nabi Fai. Many of these sites are also auto aggregator websites that scrapes off tweets & publishes them on their site. The news was tweeted around a fair bit when the connection first came to light, with people who are followed by news personalities too joined in tweeting the news. Surely some news personality must have noticed the tweet or even otherwise, would have becomes aware of this association. Yet, from all that we watch on television, it is evident they have chosen not to report the news & make people aware of the dangerous affiliations & conduct of the people at the top. Why, I wonder?

Could this be due to their misplaced sense of prioritization, what with their drive to garner maximum TRP & subsequently dictate maximum advertisement charges, or certain interests that need protections/coerciosns applied. Either way the media has not come out looking good.

The role of the media, we're told, is to make people aware of events unfolding around us, that have an impact on people's lives, & help people form opinion, not impose their own, so that the people may galvanize themselves to take action using the means made available to them in democratic India by its Constitution. Yet the media in India has failed to live up to these expectations.

How shameful that we are made to live in the darkness of ignorance in a country that has been a historical wellspring of knowledge & enlightenment.