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Revealed: Man Sought in Plot to Influence U.S. Politics Is Prominent Figure in Pakistan

Investigators say Pakistani-American doctor helped launder money sent by Pakistani intelligence to U.S. politicians

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Dr. Zaheer Ahmad addresses shareholders at the annual meeting of Shifa International Hospitals Ltd., of which he is president and CEO. (Shifa International Hospitals)

A doctor accused of playing a pivotal role in a plot to funnel cash from Pakistani intelligence into U.S. political campaigns is a respected figure in Pakistan who founded and runs one of the country’s leading hospitals, reporting by ProPublica shows.

The doctor, Zaheer Ahmad, 63, was charged Tuesday with conspiring to act as an unregistered agent of the government of Pakistan. In an affidavit filed in the case, an FBI agent alleges that Pakistani intelligence transferred money to Ahmad, who passed it through intermediaries to the Kashmiri American Council in Washington, a charity run by Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai. Fai, 62, who like Ahmad is a U.S. citizen, was arrested Tuesday in Virginia, where he lives. Authorities said Ahmad was believed to be in Pakistan.

A confidential witness quoted by the affidavit “said Ahmad told him he needed to get money to Fai in the United States, and that Fai would use it for the Kashmir cause and for lobbying.”

The money, at least $4 million since the mid-1990s, was allegedly spent on conferences and campaign donations aimed at swaying U.S. lawmakers on Kashmir, the disputed territory in India. It was provided by the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate, or ISI, the U.S. government said. It’s not clear how much went to politicians; Fai wanted to spend about $100,000 on donations to Congress in 2008 alone, the affidavit said. It’s also not clear that any of the politicians had any idea where the money came from. The ISI is implicated separately in an ongoing U.S. investigation of the 2008 attacks in Mumbai.

A U.S. official speaking on condition of anonymity Wednesday confirmed that the man identified in court papers as Zaheer Ahmad is the same Zaheer Ahmad who runs the Shifa International Hospital in Islamabad. Ahmad could not be reached for comment on Wednesday evening.

Ahmad’s position in Pakistan highlights how difficult it will be to extradite him to the United States to face charges and, if the allegations in the affidavit are true, illustrates the ISI’s reach into the upper echelons of Pakistan’s elite. The charges are punishable by up to five years in prison.

The affidavit said that money from Pakistan was moved through a network of “straw donors” in the United States, comprised of U.S.-based Pakistani doctors and businessmen. These intermediaries donated small amounts to the council and were reimbursed, according to the affidavit by FBI agent Sarah Webb Linden. Four Pakistani men directed the operation for the government; Fai’s main handlers were two ISI officials, the affidavit said.

“I believe that Fai has received approximately $500,000 to $700,000 per year from the Government of Pakistan, and that the Government of Pakistan has funded Fai’s operations through Ahmad,” Linden wrote in the affidavit, before outlining how the government’s money was routed to Fai through Ahmad and a network of people connected to Ahmad. She also said she believed individuals in the United States helped Ahmad ostensibly to get tax deductions for donating to a charity.

The affidavit said Fai’s handlers communicated regularly with Ahmad, whose email account had contact information for Javeed Aziz Khan, allegedly the main ISI handler for Fai. When Ahmad arrived at JFK International Airport in New York on July 8, 2009, his PDA was examined, showing similar information, the affidavit said. Telephone records cited in the document show that Khan called Fai many times from the same phone number that Ahmad had for Khan. And both Khan and the other main ISI handler referred to Ahmad in conversations with Fai, calling him “the doctor” or “Zaheer,” the affidavit said.

At one point, in June 2008, Fai told Khan he needed “half a dozen Brylcreem,” or $60,000, and that it would be great to meet with “the doctor,” the affidavit said. Later, in August 2009, Khan emailed Fai that he “saw the doctor” and that his “consultation fee has increased by rupees 150,” thought to be code for a funding request Fai had earlier made for $150,000, the affidavit said.

Ahmad himself was credited with funneling about $367,700 to the council since 1993, according to receipts cited by the affidavit.

In the document, Linden wrote that “Elected Official A” reported getting a $2,000 donation from Ahmad on Sept. 13, 2004.

Campaign finance records show that Ahmad donated $2,000 to Rep. Joe Pitts, R-Pa., on Sept. 13, 2004. (Pitts was upset by the news Tuesday and donated the $2,000 from Ahmad and another $2,000 from Fai to charity, his office told the Lancaster Newspapers in Pennsylvania.)

The address for Ahmad in the campaign records is the same as one of the Brooklyn addresses for Dr. Zaheer Ahmad, who founded Shifa International Hospital in Islamabad after finishing his medical residency in the United States and moving back to Pakistan in 1985. Ahmad also is the chairman of the Tameer-e-Millat Foundation, founded in 1987 to help educate Pakistani children.

One Brooklyn doctor who knew Ahmad said he was not aware of the allegations but doubted that he could be connected to any case involving the ISI.

“I’ve known him many years,” said Dr. Tajammal Gilani, a Brooklyn doctor who’s listed as donating $350 to Pitts on the same day as Ahmad and Fai but said he did not remember the donation. “He’s an impressive person. He built a very good hospital.”

The case comes at a time of intense stress in the relationship between the United States and Pakistan. The FBI affidavit pulled no punches, repeatedly referring to the ISI and “the Government of Pakistan.” Earlier this month, U.S. officials publicly linked the ISI to the death of a Pakistani journalist and also moved to withhold $800 million in military assistance to Islamabad.

It’s unlikely Pakistan will extradite Ahmad, especially considering the charges of Pakistan's government involvement and his position. President Pervez Musharraf turned down a U.S. request in 2002 for the extradition of a man wanted in the murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. In December 2009, the Pakistani government denied having an extradition treaty. But weeks later, the government flip-flopped and said that there was one.

Why don’t we go after the politician(s) who accepted funds from him.? Donating accepted funds at a later date, once caught, does not let the elite off the hook.

The obvious is we have corrupted congressman in Washington who are always on the take—take the money and ask questions later—-sound familiar??

No surprise…. this is done all the time and our own country is actively involved in these type of activities…. e.g: The National Endowment for Democracy is the favorite conduit used by our country to funnel money into political campaigns and in other countries around the world.

Re: pgillenw comment….. “Why don’t we go after the politician(s) who accepted funds”

We would need a interested… intelligent and educated voters to do that as this incident is not an exception in our country. 

I have seen an educated population retaliate and vote elected members of their parliament out of office.  Just a couple of years ago the voters in the Czech Republic did that to politicians who took bribes from the U.S. to vote for Bush’s proposed radar sitet in their country.

I stopped in my tracks at the mention of a TAX DEDUCTION:

“Linden wrote in the affidavit, before outlining how the government’s money was routed to Fai through Ahmad and a network of people connected to Ahmad. She also said she believed individuals in the United States helped Ahmad ostensibly to get tax deductions for donating to a charity.”

Tax loopholes like these, for ostensible “donations” really stood out considering the current discussions about the value or detriment such breaks give donors under the current tax code.

So what is one more buyer of influence in our bought and paid for Congress.
The Supreme Court said that Money = Speech, so everyone can influence.

Shame on you Kim Barker.  The title “Revealed: Man Sought in Plot to Influence U.S. Politics” is misleading.  The Isaral lobby is doing has been influencing U.S. politics for many, many years.  Their efforts are obscene. 

This is a story about an accused money launderer, not a political insurgent!  Do not try to mislead us!

(This is not what I expect to read at propublica.org.)

Because of honestly motivated guys in Obama’s administration, today we have begun to hear facts about these normally “Invisible Middle Sources (IMSs)” working for “Invisible Actual Heads (IAHs)” with dogmatic narrow mind-set who have believed, in traditional political ways by controlling Medias, that money can always suppress negatively done or planned dishonest acts.
By a little more great North-American public support in favour of the above couragous administration, definitely many true stories may surface transparently on the international tapestry to let the world observe how the IAHs perpetrates or implements their schemes (similar to al-Qaeda) through IMSs in every corner of the world including our West.
We won’t be disappointed by unconditionally supporting and allowing Mr. Obama’s administration to work for us all; firstly, for our ‘Great North-American power of the public’.
(My comments are based on my recent experiences, without prejudice, involving three governments of the West: Canada, USA and UK. when I accidentally encountered some personal situations with some public and private businesses.)

Re: GS/// ?The IIsraeli lobby is doing has been influencing U.S. politics for many, many years.  “

The difference with the Israeli Lobby is that they are using funds supplied by Americans to buy our Congressmen & Senators….Money is no object for AIPAC as much of it is funneled through tax free non-profit front foundations thus the donors get a tax break for their donations to the foundations and AIPAC thus getingt around being classified as acting as an unregistered agent of a foreign country.

For the last two decades now, the Indians have been shouting on the top of their lungs that the Pakistani state machinery [civilian and military] is a hyper-active sponsor of Islamist terrorism.
It’s high time the United States took charge of the situation by rallying European allies and India and went in to crush the viper’s nest of terrorism in Pakistan.
Experts concur that , by squashing the Pakistani terror outfits, we will pretty much chop of international terrorism’s head.,
Doing nothing is not an option.

Are there any other Joe Pitts in Congress—any others accepting donations from Pakistanis wanting to harm our country?  Then you’ll have a real story!!!!!!

Stephanie Palmer

July 21, 2011, 3:58 p.m.

Trust me, the politicians who received the money knew exactly where it came from. He said it was to sway their vote, of course they knew.

The smokescreen by Pakistan’s sympathizers to shift the attention to AIPAC and Israel blows away when one considers that Israelis do not commit or support terrorism in the US or against Americans. There is no comparison between Pakistan, steeped in state-sponsored terrorism, and democratic Israel fighting for its survival.

Since the FBI had information on Ahmad in 2009, why did they seek to arrest him now, several years later, when he is safe in Pakistan? And why are General Pervez Musharraf, the former dictator of Pakistan under whose watch Osama bin Laden received shelter in a garrison town in Pakistan, and General Shuja Pasha, the current head of the ISI designated by us as a terrorist organization, freely traveling to the US without any fear of being arrested fro their crimes against humanity? We shouldn’t be surprised to catch fleas if we keep insisting on dancing with these mutts.

Re: Chl…. “Since the FBI had information on Ahmad in 2009, why did they seek to arrest him now, several years late”.....

You realize, of course, that the Fumbling Bureaucratic Idiots are more concerned with creating headlines in the media. Thus they will sit and wait until timing will put them in a favorable light…

He is now what we call terminal. The order by Obamao ,exterminate, no capture, or release. They know too much, they cannot talk. Can anyone give me the timeline of when Obamao spent time in Pakistan. Since this anti american coup has been planned for 30 years.

Right off the bat, pgillenw hits it out of the park (pardon the baseball analogies…it’s summer what can I say):

“Why don’t we go after the politician(s) who accepted funds from him.? Donating accepted funds at a later date, once caught, does not let the elite off the hook. “

Agreed and triple-agreed!!! The Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches seem set on destroying the middle class, and thus the American dream.

Why don’t we hold those duped-up baggers to their word an demand accountability from our government??? those public servants, including the President & VP, work for us, too, you know!

Come on, get on an activist website and DO something!!! Communities are doing it best - get involved at a local level, and watch things build upward. We can do it!

“They got the guns
But we got the numbers…”    - Jim Morrison, circa 1969

Many of you are missing the point. 

1- The title of the article is misleading and only a trick to generate a conversation like this about a different (sensitizing) topic that is not related to the story.  This is about a money launderer.  Forget about his nationality.

2. Article said “The money…was allegedly spent on conferences and campaign donations aimed at swaying lawmakers on Kasnmir.”  As far as I know, this is not illegal.  So you can’t call the politicians crooks.  And it was allegedly about Kashmir, not U.S.-Arab politics!

3. Shame on the Chl for trying to antagonize folks he called Pakistani sympathizers.  I did not see any sympathesizers here.  What is your motive Chl?  Are you a sympathizer for the “other” side?

4. AIPAC political incursions is a huge story of manipulation so Chl, I wouldn’t go there (although it is likely legal too).

5. Will someone please address the writer’s misleading title and the fact that avoiding this type of reporting is the reason why we are supposed to find tabloid liberation at Pro Publica?  I would like ProPublica to apologize for not catching this!

why not just take money out of the political arena.  the playing field would be closer to level then.  no lobbyists, no campaign financing except by the candidate. certainly no corporate money atall.  perhaps the candidates could raise money for television time on their own, or perhaps we, the people could grant them the use of OUR airwaves equally.  but no religious organization money, no corporate money, certainly no overseas money as well.  may not be entirely possible, but the closer this country gets to a money free government, the better the people’s chance of rising out of the pit we’re in now.

The last comment (tedbohne) gets it.
This is about how money influences EVERYTHING.  Remember money doesn’t talk, it screams…
It’s time to reform (read eliminate) lobbying everywhere, for whatever reason.

A typical CIA/ FBI tactics to malign Pakistan, ostensibly for not playing to US tune. Eversince Raymond Davis issue, relations between ISI and CIA have been strained. Mr Fai’s case is a total drama to put more pressure on Pakistan to” do more”.

This man is called a crocodile by his fellow doctors in the hospital.He and his other cronies working in the hospital must be punished for several years of the crimes they have committed.Mr.A Anis you are one of his friends so you’ll definately take his side.Allah will show his real side one day and if you’re blind then Allah is not on your side.

Agreed with MK the man is notorious for his illegal activities.

http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?271830
The Pakistani government is spending big bucks to repair the country’s image in America, paying the Washington law firm Locke Lord $900,000 a year for its services as a lobbyist.

Its effort is led by Mark Siegel, who was a close friend of Benazir Bhutto and co-authored Reconciliation: Islam, Democracy, and the West with her.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11135/1146396-373-0.stm
Siegel parlayed service with President Jimmy Carter and several Democrats in Congress into a partnership at Lord Locke Strategies, the lobbying firm the government of Pakistan pays $75,000 a month.

That’s been a bargain for Pakistan, which has received more than $20 billion in US aid since 9/11. The USs plans to send another $3 billion next year.

Despite massive evidence of Pakistani duplicity, many in Washington still claim cutting US aid would have dire consequences. This is partly because of the money Mr. Siegel and others spread around.

But mostly it’s because there once was a rationale for pretending Pakistan was an ally and Washington is resistant to change.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110509/ap_on_go_co/us_bin_laden_pakistan_lobbying
Siegel is a former assistant to the president in the Carter White House and was chief of staff to Rep Steve Israel, D-NY, from 2001 to 2004.

Other Locke Lord lobbyists working the Pakistan account also have congressional experience. Phil Rivers is a former chief of staff to Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala, a Senate Appropriations Committee member. Brian Heindl was a top aide to Sen Herb Kohl, D-Wis, also a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Locke Lord has represented Pakistan since May 2008 and has been paid just over $2.7 million. Pakistan is the firm’s biggest client.

Within hours of the stunning announcement that Osama bin Laden had been killed by US commandos, the lobbying firm representing Pakistan’s government began contacting members of Congress and their staffs to counter claims Islamabad protected the al-Qaida chief for nearly six years.

http://in.reuters.com/article/2011/05/05/idINIndia-56806320110505
Pakistan’s Washington lobbyists have launched an intense campaign on Capitol Hill to counter accusations that Islamabad was complicit in giving refuge to Osama bin Laden.

Since bin Laden’s death, Siegel has been on Capitol Hill every day to promote Pakistan’s position on the bin Laden killing, talking to congressmen, senators and their aides.

Mark Siegel, a partner in the Washington lobbying firm of Locke Lord Strategies—which is paid $75,000 a month by the Pakistani government—had spoken twice to Zardari since US special forces killed bin Laden on Sunday, and “countless” times to the Pakistani ambassador in Washington.

Siegel’s firm was retained by the Zardari government in 2008 and has earned nearly $2 million in fees since then. Siegel said his firm is paid $900,000 a year by Pakistan.

Pakistan should be sent home. An investigation should be launched to discover if American tax payer dollars paid for the lobbying effort.

Gee the world is ugly and so is Pakistan and our elite in Washington.

No foreign country should be allowed to lobby in the U.S.

This issue, just like of Rupert Murdoch or other “IMS (invisible middle source)”-powers, now looks like to be a insignificantly tiny one in the global context but global public awareness of this fact by honestly playable Media roles, is also capable of transforming the direction or future course of ‘Traditional negatively powerful old style politics’ into a “Global no secret” unprecedented new transparently operable different kind of politics (Honest, neutral, non-religious and reaching beyond national boundaries) led by a balanced (in terms of personality, race, color, faith, educational background along with general knowledge, class etc, and also personal monetary need, belief, etc.) to become a globally popular leader our great North-American public to begin with.

My following post is a re-submission of my blocked post after removing the paragraph: [The foreignpolicy.com urls in my above posts were my posts deleted recently by ]http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/meet_the_staff]

If anything else is inappropriate please let me know or remove it.

Please post this before the existing post. The two posts were ordered.

Thanks.

This article: The money, at least $4 million since the mid-1990s, was allegedly spent on conferences and campaign donations aimed at swaying US lawmakers on Kashmir, the disputed territory in India. It was provided by the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI).

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/leon-t-hadar/paying-pitts-to-pay-pakis_b_906174.html
American taxpayers send annually more than $2 billion in security assistance to our “ally” Pakistan (and more than $20 billion in combined military and nonmilitary assistance to Islamabad since 9/11), which goes directly to the coffers of the Pakistani military, including the ISI. The ISI has been colluding with militant groups operating on its territory and attacking U.S. armed forces and our allies in Afghanistan including Al-Qaeda-linked Haqqani network, (not to mention that some elements in the ISI were helping to shield Osama bin Laden in a house located a few blocks from the leading Pakistani military academy).
http://community.nytimes.com/comments/www.nytimes.com/2011/05/13/world/asia/13pakistan.html?permid=188#comment188
http://community.nytimes.com/comments/www.nytimes.com/2011/05/10/world/asia/10intel.html?permid=140#comment140
http://www.propublica.org/article/mumbai-attacks-renew-questions-about-pakistans-crackdown-on-militants#28078
http://community.nytimes.com/comments/www.nytimes.com/2011/04/12/world/asia/12pakistan.html?permid=381#comment381
http://community.nytimes.com/comments/www.nytimes.com/2011/04/12/world/asia/12pakistan.html?permid=389#comment389

And now we learn that some of the American taxpayer money that goes to support a Pakistani military—that is in cahoots with insurgents that kill American soldiers in Afghanistan (whose leader wants us out of his country) and also murders Pakistani journalists—is directing some of these US dollars to help elect American lawmakers that could be relied on to vote in favor of more financial assistant to the Pakistani military.

Want all of this to sound even more absurd? Well, the same lawmakers who are not going to raise the debt ceiling until the government starts cutting spending big time and balance the budget continue approving billions of US dollars in assistance to Pakistan.

Indeed, on Thursday the House Foreign Affairs Committee blocked an amendment to a spending bill that would have banned any assistance to Pakistan.
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304911104576445862242908294.html?mod=WSJINDIA_hps_editorsPicks_3#articleTabs=comments&commentId=2759422

The issues we have noted in these pages can not be destroyed in the traditional non digital methods. The IAHs and the IMSs can no longer continue old style nasty politics by dishonestly controlling Medias and misleading the ensuing global public of better wisdom.
.............................................................................................................Obama needs unanimous support from GP.
I AM FACING DIFFICULTIES CONTINUE WRITING WITH/ ON MY VERY OLD COMPUTER AS MICROSOFT Corporation or something has made my new laptop inoperable by sending some jamming signals.

I want to continue my positive support for the advancement of humanity through the good guys in our great north-American power today but facing troubles.
Who are behind such unscrupulous controlling things and why?
Is there any one in our governmental powers to help me deal with this issue?

Alas, I am stuck and no one can now hear my voice or the concern which is also represent a serious matter of public interest!
You the NA Public can watch in today’s TV some ineffective funny propaganda-type video images of clowns of al-Qaeda in training but these are failing to produce any positive result because the Norway killer has just set another good example before the global public to realise a real-life true fact that there are terrorist-minds in every race and culture; so first things we need to focus and do is ban the production and supply of private guns on the streets of the whole world.

I just lost hours of precious thought and writing…...........................I can’t continue writing on my old PC anymore…..........................................................................

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