Sameera Fazili, one of the 20 Indian-Americans who will be a member of the Joe Biden Administration, has a unique Indian connection, her cousin Mubeen Shah, a famous businessman, was with those detained under the Public Safety Act (PSA) in the Valley clampdown agreeing with the scrapping of the special situation of Jammu and Kashmir. Shah’s mother and Fazili’s father are siblings, and the family had drawn into their Washington and Delhi relationships to assist ensure his liberation. Fazili was chosen by the new US President as Deputy Director of the National Economic Council (NEC), a policy body that is composed of the White House. She had been a senior advisor in the NEC during the Obama Administration. Shah was released in December 2019, and he is an exceptional case in which the J&K administration repeal the PSA.
Fazili’s sister Yousra Fazili, a human rights advocate, was amongst the Kashmiris who affirmed at the November 2019 US Congressional perception on the condition in the Valley. She addressed, in particular, her cousin’s sudden apprehension, his health condition, and how members of her Srinagar-based family had moved“from jail to jail in Srinagar” striving to discover out where he had been taken. She stated that she could not start to describe how closely knit the entire family was. In her testimony, Yousra added that she and Fazili had dialed friends in the State Department on discovering about Shah’s detention on August 8, 2019. And that they were only able to assert he was imprisoned in Agra after the State Department sent an “informational request” with the Indian government on his situation.
“My cousin Mubeen has been made an example of. His imprisonment sends a strong signal to the people of Kashmir that money, family, and status mean nothing in the face of Indian capriciousness,” she said in her statement, adding that how “armed forces are carrying night raids on homes and drawing young men and boys from their beds into military custody” in Kashmir. Her cousin, she stated, was “not a politician or a dissident, he isn’t a freedom fighter or even a kid in the street throwing stones. He’s just a businessman. His life’s work has focused on bringing economic opportunity to Kashmir”.
Shah, who is based in Malaysia and holds a crafts business, was detained when visiting Kashmir along with his wife. About one of the most famous families of Kashmir, Shah has at different times went the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Jammu & Kashmir Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and a body active on both sides of the boundary to expand commerce over the Line of Control that was begun in 2008 and is at a standstill since India abandoned it in 2019. Another family member, a niece of the Fazili sisters and Shah, is the India-based origin of an international trade services’ association and also operated behind the scenes for his freedom, using her relationships at the highest levels of administration, sources said.
Shah’s arrest had also been named by Indian-American Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal at the first US Congressional discussion on Kashmir on October 22, 2019, who signaled his poor health. She desired to understand if the State Department had proposed the element of his arrest with the Indian government, and was ensured by Alice Wells, then-Acting Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs, that the US government had brought up Shah’s case with Delhi.
Following the interference by the Fazili sisters, their Delhi-based niece, and Jayapal, Shah’s wife and his brother had been capable to visit him in Agra. On December 6, 2019, unexpectedly, the same day as Jayapal proposed a bipartisan resolution in the House of Representatives prompting the Indian government to stop the constraints on communications and the mass arrests in J&K — Shah was “temporarily” released. Two days later, the J&K government notified the Supreme Court, in response to an appeal submitted by his wife, that it had “permanently revoked” the PSA against Shah.
In October 2020, subordinately, the J&K Police stated they were attempting to capture Shah through Interpol over a purported Facebook post by him. J&K Director General of Police Dilbagh Singh said they had filed a case for the post that supposedly aimed at non-local people existing in the Valley. The DGP said they had launched the process to inform Shah a blazoned offender and confiscate his assets in Kashmir. But there has been no action on this.
Fazili is one of two Kashmiri-origin members in the Biden organization. The other is Aisha Shah, the partnership manager at the White House Office of Digital Strategy. Married with three children, Fazili has honors from Harvard and Yale and is a community development finance specialist. She was born in the US, where her doctor’s parents moved to in 1970-71.