Journalism in the Public Interest

Man Accused in Pakistani Spy Plot Dies

It’s unclear how death will affect the U.S. Justice Department case against Zaheer Ahmad and another man, accused of using Pakistani money to try to influence U.S. policy on Kashmir.


Dr. Zaheer Ahmad addresses shareholders at the annual meeting of Shifa International Hospitals Ltd. Ahmad, 63, suffered a stroke on Sept. 28 and died this morning, said Azmat Ullah Qureshi, a spokesman for the hospital. (Shifa International Hospitals)

One of the men accused of helping orchestrate a plot by Pakistan's main spy agency to influence U.S. policy on Kashmir died today, providing the latest twist in an already bizarre case.

Pakistani-American Zaheer Ahmad, 63, suffered a stroke on Sept. 28, said Azmat Ullah Qureshi, a spokesman for Shifa International Hospital in Islamabad, the hospital Ahmad founded. Ahmad was taken to Shifa, where he remained in a coma until dying this morning, Qureshi said.

Shifa hospital put up a statement today on its webpage: “This is a moment of great sorrow and grief,” the hospital announced. “We are deeply saddened to announce that Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of Shifa International Hospital, Islamabad Dr. Zaheer Ahmad has left for his heavenly abode today, leaving thousands of his bereaved friends and colleagues behind.”

On Monday, ProPublica published a story looking into the case against Ahmad and his alleged accomplice, Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai, an American citizen from the Indian side of Kashmir. The Justice Department announced the case against Fai and Ahmad on July 19. Fai was arrested while driving his wife to the subway and is currently under house arrest in Fairfax, Va. Ahmad was in Pakistan.

Fai and Ahmad were accused of helping funnel more than $4 million from Pakistan's main spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate, or ISI, to the United States to influence America's position on Kashmir, the disputed territory claimed by Pakistan and India. Some of the money allegedly was donated to U.S. politicians, and Fai was able to win some influence on Capitol Hill, meeting with top officials.

Ahmad was accused of recruiting at least 13 "straw donors," mainly Pakistani-American doctors and professionals, to help steer money into Fai's nonprofit, the Kashmiri American Council. Some of the donors gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to Fai and were mostly reimbursed by Ahmad, who got his money from the ISI, the FBI affidavit said.

It's not clear what Ahmad's death will mean for the case. Ahmad had continued to work at Shifa and appear in public after the charges were filed, and the Pakistan government had given no indication that he would be extradited. Pakistani officials denied that Fai and Ahmad worked for the ISI.

Dean Boyd, a spokesman for the U.S. Justice Department, said American officials had seen reports of Ahmad's death but referred questions about it to the government of Pakistan.

“At this time I'm not in a position to independently confirm those reports,” Boyd said. He declined to speculate on how Ahmad's death could affect the Justice Department's prosecution.

Ahmad and Fai were charged with failing to register as foreign agents with the Justice Department, punishable by up to five years in prison. Fai was also charged with making false statements. A grand jury is still hearing evidence in the case, and an indictment could include other charges.

The case was filed against the two men as the relationship between Pakistan and the United States came under increased strain. Some supporters of Fai and Ahmad have claimed that the men were victims of that strain.

Reporting by ProPublica indicates the FBI's investigation ranged well beyond the allegations in the affidavit. Before announcing charges against Fai and Ahmad, FBI agents fanned out across the United States, questioning about 18 people linked to Ahmad, said Shafqat Chaudhary, who serves on the boards of Shifa and Ahmad's U.S. charity, the Society for International Help.

Gul Chughtai, a Pakistani-American physicist who clashed with Ahmad at Shifa, said an FBI agent asked him about a trip Ahmad allegedly made to Afghanistan with an eccentric Pakistani nuclear scientist, Sultan Bashiruddin Mahmood, to meet Osama bin Laden. Mahmood had been put under house arrest by the Pakistani government for another meeting with bin Laden shortly before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

In a phone interview with ProPublica on Sept. 2, Ahmad, who spent 13 years in the United States before returning home in 1985 to start Shifa, said he couldn't discuss the case against him.

“People know me in America, and people know me in Pakistan,” he said. “My work is open. Until this case is finished, I can't discuss this. And it could be dangerous for you, too.”

He also said he didn't think the case would hurt his job. “I am a social worker and am working day and night,” he said. “That is my bread and butter. I don't know what's going to happen. But it won't affect the work that I am doing in Pakistan.”

Barry Schmittou

Oct. 7, 2011, 3:18 p.m.

I skimmed paragraphs for 30 seconds and was surprised to see in the second to last paragraph Mr. Ahmad told the ProPublica reporters :

“Until this case is finished, I can’t discuss this. And it could be dangerous for you, too.”

(end of quote)

Either those were :

(1) words to make the reporters think twice about continuing or
(2) there is a real threat for reporters and their publication if they report about events half way around the world.

That’s why I pray so much and throughout the day ask God to please be with us all !! I’m not sure what kind of person Mr. Ahmad was, but I also pray God will be with Mr. Ahmad and his family.

Dear friends, it is another proof: how God works through human for the mankind. Everything happens for some reasons. Ahmad’s death actually has made it easy to bring some, protected by out of date laws, including all the heartless and dangerous minded US politicians under justice.
Doesn’t matter internal or foreign affairs, plot to commit crimes against humanity or planning, inciting bloodshed in foreign lands, manufactuing and training on mankind killing machines etc. were matters of uncivilized times, therefore, in the light of evolved collective intellectuality of the present time, are being viewed as nothing less than
crimes and the human heads-whether the top bosses such as a chair of a municipality or even an ex-President or Prime-minister of a country
must face justice.
Obama still has the moral strength to smile happily and may set the first step to amend the laws and policies in this regard as Gun or Oil business-money is not the reason he is in politics today and I think, if his endeavours are misunderstood by majority of US and Global public he as a non-violent type writer and a peace loving person may happily decide to say good bye to Nasty political leadership and the fighting!

Stephanie Palmer

Oct. 8, 2011, 3:59 a.m.

I’d like to know which of the “top leaders on capitol hill” were influenced by Fai.  I’m tired of these people that live on the public teat taking money from outside interests.  It’s not like we don’t pay them plenty of taxpayer money.  How do we find out?  Why is the Justice Dept protecting them by not disclosing their names?  We have plenty of people to replace them. They’re at the unemployment office.

This story only gets attention because of the notoriety surrounding the ISI. It is no secret the Kashmir cause attracts ISI and government support. Once that is explained, it loses all its interest.  Drop it already, if I was you, PP. And the death of one of the suspects from a stroke is not a twist, and neither is the case bizzare.

@Robin - I would prefer the case not be dropped.  I am always interested in such influence cases; the details could offer a clue as to how the American people might go about gaining some influence or even representation in Congress.

Not only this case, other cases like Rupert Murdoch’s should never be dropped until new laws and policies are made and we need some one to initiate the process as a leader of new world politics.
With honest intention and hope I am reposting the following: (Please take my somewhat absurdity easy): . 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.)

Why we need different kind of leadership?
For better Global politics of -course!
Bunch of retarded heads, do not even have the common sense to try to understad the demand of time: Smart non-violent politics.

The Greatness of the West: 1 Pre-meditated murderer of 80 lives still alive in the West and 8 needy thieves, earning not enough as foreign workers in a richest Country to became accidental killers and die in unimaginable brutal ways in the East.

Recently, one Norwegian killer in a pre-planned way killed 80 and probably won’t receive even suspended death penalty in the World Class generous atmosphere of the Western Justice System and in Super rich: Saudi Arabia, 8 poor foreign workers from Bangladesh (with insufficient wages (e.g. US$ 5 to $10 a day for 12 hours of hard laboring job) have been murdered openly by autocratic order of a non-benevolent king in this modern, globally awakened time: in a primitive, brutal, barbarian style as a punishment for accidental killing of one!

If, it is not for sharing profiteering fortune of artificially raised oil-price money, then, non-violent removal of only a few guys in business of politics of the West would also force the brutal ruler-ships to change their inhuman policies of the old or expedite the removals of the ‘Out of date’: opportunist guys’ or king’s businesses of terrorism for it’s own comfort to remain in the power vacuum, historically unnoticed by the majority of the then old-world and not ever claimed by wise guys like evolved most intelligent men of this 21st Century Generation.

The evidences of these types of heinous acts (Just like Assad’s of Syria; for personal enjoyment of hereditary power, in old styled form of politics, to suppress awareness of true justice by brutal treatments for creating fear in isolated portion of the collective global Public) that are currently taking place in this rapidly growing digital communication technology and time are now invincible and not subject to procedural destruction anymore, therefore, to the surprise of the perpetrators, the painful memories shall never be wiped out! (All the credits, eternally go to the neutral wise-understanding of the region-less Creator of Cosmos).

The Bangladeshi heads in power, just like money hungry mongers of Pakistan, India, Syria, Bahrain, Nigeria, Somalia, Iran, North Korea, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela etc. neither have enough intelligence (because they are elected to represent ignorance of majority) nor any idea about how to join the emerging new body of honest politicians in the West for help create a one standard Global justice system for aiding Humanity’s positive side for a possible new peaceful world where each hard-working human on all corners of this Earth can enjoy own life with a “Minimum Standard of living (Examples, before the Global Public already set by the Western Good Governments)” with the help of a Unbiased Super leadership or power like USA / UN.
Of-course there will be fights (with amended policies of International Trades and money) but not with mankind killing war machines anymore:

This has the appearance of an assassination with the use of very high tech remote weaponry that can manipulate the iron content in blood to compel a stroke or heart attack.  An autopsy might reveal small clusters of red blood cells at the point where blockage occurred that resulted in the fatal stroke.

New policies needed to validate phone and e-mail hacking by the Government in a no secret manner, then only bad guys, whether be a citizen or its leader; a member of the public or a public servants have to worry and become good.

Nothing will ever be perfect but ‘Perfection’ is in the acts of balancing (50%‘s of opposing forces) and that’s how everything about our humanly existence is programmed.
To be honest, I assume, Obama will exactly understand what I am trying to say because he surely knows that dishonesty always to be remained in the fabric of politics and the norm was up until now: there won’t be enough honest supporters behind a honest leader, therefore, negatively powerful dishonest leader-ships will prevail.

A mistakenly believed word: “Unbold” may have the cosmic-power to modify the vulnerable by default: ‘belief-system inside each human brain’, therefore, change the world (Each human, actually can see and feel own existence individually and the “Wealth and power greedy thugs have always been manipulating this secret and abused it and so far got away unchallenged after recklessly doing whatever whimsical evil things they had on their dumb or blind belief system”) in a peaceful and non-violent way.
(Ridiculously, I won’t talk about universal topics now.)  But I feel a strong desire in me to say: ‘Now, there is a short lasting opportunity to change the future course of global politics that is to be history of American recent Glory by as early as 2017’.
I just know that it won’t be a lucky thing should we miss this chance and let the ‘disguised new generation of old thugs’ take control of world’s trades and economy from as far as Dubai, India, China etc.!

For a better peaceful world, a fair and totally honest declaration of Amnesty will do the magic right now in regard to Assad, then only few dozens of thugs under veil: Emirs, Sheikhs and their Western business partners will take advantage of a new trend of ‘non-violent changing process in ‘Greed-money oriented global leader-ships’, in a positive chain reaction.

Why not we unanimously elect one ‘Not or less greedy’ guy to accomplish the job of positive-global-change and encourage him to selflessly take the pain of selflessly leading the world for a noble cause and to show the World once again the unique humanitarian power of Great North-America. God created resources on Earth: e.g. Oil-Dollars, like billions of Gaddafi or Emirs or Kings of Middle East can be used for establishing one benevolent dictatorial type Authority (Doing its activities in a “No Secret” and transparently visible digital methods having random access to and from each member of the Global Public.) of impartial UN power to supervise on corporate capitalism in control of ‘less tax-paying a small group of businessmen’ and balance the world wide democracy. New UN (A few more Wise guys or at least “Some like me in the Think-tank”) can only ensure ‘Tax collection from each rich guy on Earth, regardless of the color of blood: Red or blue (?), including the so called spiritual leaders, hereditary owners of natural resources, kings’ etc.

When even God-made (?) political policies e.g. Women’s voting and driving etc. in a piece of Arab Lands can be changed, then, Man-made policies of all kinds in the West are easily changeable too for the benefit of our American public today and global Public tomorrow.
The source of the knowledge is so genuine, clear and strong that no one will believe it to be true now and I shall not divulge to anyone or second or third party!

Dennis D Dey

Oct. 30, 2011, 4 p.m.

The only agency to benefit from this doctor’s death is the ISI, who has thus avoided any possibility of linking itself with Zaheer Ahmed. According to the FBI’s affidavit, Zaheer Ahmed obtained millions from the ISI to influence opinions in the USA.

All the evidences are caught and preserved for infinite time in the digital global net work and we simply just need to pass a few easy new laws to allow free access in a “no secret manner” to digital records of activities of every human on earth, whether it be a single member of the Public or king’s family.

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