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Was US Institute of Peace harbouring a Pakistani asset? The case of Moeed Yusuf

Moeed Yusuf has now been hired by Pakistan’s National Security Division. American taxpayers need answers.

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For several years, under the ostensible leadership of Moeed Yusuf, the Washington DC-based United States Institute of Peace –working on global conflict reduction – has furthered a relentless pro-Pakistan policy. He has been promoting Pakistan’s interests at US taxpayers’ expense.

I have complained about it many times, and have also reported him to the FBI and to every serving member of the US House Oversight Committee. The institute was founded by the US Congress, which continues to pay its bills.

My concerns about Yusuf were vindicated last week when The Dawn announced that he will assume a newly-created position – the chairperson of the Strategic Policy Planning Cell (SPPC) of Pakistan, which functions under the country’s National Security Division.

USIP’s stance

The United States Institute of Peace (USIP)’s pro-Pakistan stance is evidenced in the editorials and programme documents written by Moeed Yusuf and his colleagues, including Steve Hadley, another well-known pro-Pakistan former official in the George W. Bush administration, as well as in media interviews and congressional testimonies. Persons familiar with USIP employees have told me that they note that “we [USIP] are pro-Pakistan.”

The USIP has been the premier venue for hosting a variety of Pakistani officials. The events are by invitation-only and not open to a general audience. This policy is odd given that the USIP is funded exclusively by the US government. They also explicitly preclude critics of Pakistan or of the USIP’s position such as myself.

During the last event that I was permitted to attend at USIP in 2014, the USIP hosted a Pakistan Defense delegation after which I posted a searing recount of the event. The man behind the event was an oddly well-heeled Pakistani-American Dentist named Nisar Chaudhury who latter confessed to illegally lobbying on behalf of Pakistan. (Pakistan had long ousted me from such events but Chaudhury was keen to broker some kind of a rapprochement with me and the deep state and invited me. That rapprochement did not happen, obviously.)

In what functioning government is it appropriate for a US citizen (perhaps with dual citizenship now), after years of selling Pakistan’s interests while drawing a salary from the US government, to take up such a position in Pakistan government without consequence? The USIP must be asked important questions: Was it harbouring and nurturing a ‘Pakistani asset’? Will it re-employ Yusuf when his tenure in Pakistan ends?

Also read: Washington to London: An inside account of how Pakistan’s deep state grooms ISI mouthpieces

Who is Moeed Yusuf

The South Asia policy community first heard of Moeed Yusuf around 2008 when he was a doctoral student in Boston. Leading male South Asia scholars nurtured him. In 2010, Ambassador William B. Taylor hired Moeed Yusuf as a “South Asia Adviser”. At the time of hire, he was not an American citizen, and as per my conversations with USIP staff, he was hired as a consultant initially. Early in his tenure, I raised issues with Taylor as well as Andrew Wilder.

In 2010, another female scholar of Pakistan told me that she had given Yusuf a sensitive proposal and that she believed Yusuf had conveyed it to “Pakistan’s agencies”. Unfamiliar with Yusuf, I presumed that—if this had occurred at all—it would have been by accident. I suggested to this very anxious scholar that perhaps Yusuf sent it to a reviewer who may have forwarded it. I told her that I would raise the matter with Ambassador Taylor, which I did. To my surprise when Ambassador Taylor raised this issue with the scholar, she recanted her story and bizarrely insinuated that I fabricated this to embarrass her.

To this day, I do not know what motivated her to reach out to me with this account or to recant it. What I do know is that it undermined my credibility when I raised subsequent questions on Yusuf, which I did again, in the spring of 2011.

In May 2011, I received a threatening email indicating that I would be “gang raped” by an entire regiment if and when I returned to Pakistan. These emails are never signed: “Affectionately, the ISI.” I immediately phoned the ISI station chief in the Pakistan embassy in Washington DC, who was defence attaché Brigadier Nazir Butt. He and I had a very heated exchange during which I demanded to know why I have received this threat. Nazir offered two reasons. He said he had seen a document that was the prospectus for my future book Fighting to the End. Only one person had that prospectus who was also in a position to forward it Nazir. That person was political analyst Shuja Nawaz. (The only other possible explanation was that the organisation had hacked my computer or his.) The other piece of information he recounted was reported from a briefing that I did, along with Moeed Yusuf and Marvin Weinbaum, for the outgoing ambassador to Islamabad, Ambassador Cameron Munter.

Nazir and I also had a heated follow-up conversation at the Pakistan embassy. I reported this to Andrew Wilder, who was his supervisor at the time. Wilder raised this with Yusuf who denied saying anything inappropriate and wrote an indignant email to me a few days later. From that point onward, I refused to be in any meeting with him that was “off the record” and warned people that he may be compromised.

Meanwhile, Yusuf continued his ascent within the USIP as did his authority over the organisation’s remit. He even organised an exclusive, invitation-only “Young Professionals Working Group on Pakistan,” which featured officials from the US and Pakistani government including the ISI station chief, Brig. Butt in 2011.

Also read: Pakistani generals want to restore their golden era & that’s why Musharraf’s team is back


In 2017, I encouraged an Indian journalist, Seema Sirohi, to submit an FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request for all emails between Yusuf as well as Hadley and officials at the Pakistani Embassy. Amazingly, the USIP declined this saying these communications constitute “inter-agency or intra-agency communications” and are thus exempt. How can communications with a foreign entity be so-classified by an organisation such as the USIP? Equally appalling, Yusuf, chided Sirohi about the request when they next met at a function.

Source: Christine Fair

My concerns about Yusuf intensified when a foreign agent informed me that they believed Yusuf and/or Hadley, most likely via Hadley’s private firm, had taken funds from the Midwest Fertilizer Co. LLC in Indiana. The operations of this firm were not without controversy because its lead investor was Fatima Fertilizer Group, a Pakistan-based firm that was supplying some 80 per cent of the fertilizer that the Taliban used in its improvised explosive devices (IEDs, or bombs), which were responsible for most of the deaths of Americans soldiers and their Afghan and NATO allies. A British military officer argued that the firm should change its production method because the Fatima Group is the “lone source of the problem in Afghanistan”. The firm refused to be a part of a solution. For this reason, then-governor of Indiana, Mike Pence, suspended state support for the project.

However, Pence reopened talks with Midwest Fertilizer, after which the Indiana Economic Development Corp. offered the company $300,000 in conditional incentives from the Hoosier Business Investment tax credit. The foreign agent refused to provide information about his source.

In December 2017, I reported this to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, to a personal contact at the National Security Council as well as to a senior official at the Central Intelligence Agency. I had planned to meet with staffers at the House Oversight Committee to discuss this and other concerns, but the FBI asked me to demur from doing so.

I complained to and about the USIP most recently on 25 July when I sent an unanswered email asking how the USIP justifies excluding persons such as myself when it hosts senior Pakistani officials. That same week, I sent a fax to every member of the US House Oversight Committee and the Subcommittee on Government operations. Not a single member responded to my note.

Source: Christine Fair

Also read: New study predicts impact of India-Pakistan nuclear war — over 100 million dead

Yusuf’s new job

Moeed Yusuf has now accepted a recently-created post in Pakistan under the National Security Division, which was created in January 2014 and its mandate includes:

“provision of secretariat services to the National Security Committee (NSC), drafting of National Security Policy (NSP) and engagement with international partners in a dialogue on issues relevant to national security of Pakistan. The Division is headed by Minister for National Security…. The National Security Committee (NSC) is the principal decision-making body on National Security matters.”

Yusuf will serve in an ex-officio capacity to the NSC.

Pakistan has a decent track record of placing its citizens in sensitive posts. Zain Qureshi, son of Shah Mahmood Qureshi who was then the foreign minister under President Asif Ali Zardari, worked for Senator John Kerry as an intern in 2009. Qureshi returned to Pakistan, where his father is now the foreign minister under Prime Minister Imran Khan. Zain Qureshi is now a member of Pakistan’s National Assembly and is currently serving as the federal parliamentary secretary for finance.

Brigadier Gen. (Retired) Feroz Khan might be the most audacious placement. For more than a decade, he has been a faculty member at the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) in California. Khan, who was promoted to brigadier without ever commanding a brigade, was related to Pervez Musharraf through marriage. (Khan’s daughter was married to Musharraf’s son.  They have since been divorced.) What makes Khan so controversial is that prior to joining the NPS, he worked for General Khalid Kidwai in Pakistan’s Strategic Plans Division (SPD), which is the premier organisation responsible for Pakistan’s nuclear weapons programme.

Several persons at the NPS have expressed considerable concern about the procedures involved in hiring Khan, who was not a US citizen. They told this author that he was hired as a consultant. He is now a US citizen.

In what country does a retired general from another hostile nuclear programme join a military-educational institution where he has the ability to not only shape the perceptions of hundreds of personnel each year, but also garner deeply personal insights about personnel being deployed to Pakistan? Khan’s colleagues at the NPS continue to raise doubts with me about his funding for his lifestyle, which seems inconsonant with his NPS salary.

Similarly, Moeed Yusuf’s tenure at USIP may well be another example of a US-taxpayer-funded institution hosting a deep-state asset. One should be very clear about the nature of US-Pakistan relations. Pakistan is single-handedly responsible for not only undermining US interests in Afghanistan, but also having proxies such as the Haqqani Network and the Taliban, who are directly responsible for murders of American personnel as well as their Afghan and NATO allies.

Also read: Imran Khan can’t get away by blaming America for Pakistan’s jihad problem

What next?

The USIP must be held to account as must Yusuf. He should at least be compelled to give up his US citizenship as is standard for others who have joined foreign governments. The USIP should not be permitted to hire him back.

Equally, the American taxpayer deserves to know why organisations such as the FBI and the House Oversight Committee never cared about Yusuf and its actions when it actually mattered?

Americans deserve to know the answers. And so do the families of victims of Pakistan-sponsored militant groups.

C. Christine Fair is the author of Fighting to the End: The Pakistan Army’s Way of War and In Their Own Words: Understanding the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba. 

The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not represent the views of her employer or those of the ThePrint.

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  1. Indians have very scarce patience in enduring the right spoken by any realist and their comments are vague and insulting not palatable at all

  2. The tone and tenor of the article, which is at best baseless, is a testimony to the fact that Ms. Fair has gone hysterical and rabid in her Pak hate mongering. Alas! The Print gives space to such authors. Her support base of Indians otherwise says it all.

  3. In 74th UNGA, Pakistani Premier, Imran Khan, asked its US counterpart to open dialogue with Taliban which was suspended after bombing and suucide attack in Kabul.
    Few days after Imran reached Pakistan, top brass of Taliban was given red carpet and FM Qureshi openly hugged the leaders of Taliban.
    If FBI or CIA wants to do ostrich let them, we Indians did not create Taliban and the mess around with Pakistan, their ally hence we should not be a fool to wash their dirt.

  4. People like Moeed Yusuf and Shah Faesal are snakes and extremely dangerous. They know how to propagate false information, change narratives to brain wash people, besides spreading jihadi ideology. The only drawback for them is their arrogance of thoughts that they are smarter than the people around them.

  5. Finally, a person like Ms. Fair has the guts to tell the truth even with a constant threat from Pakistani Army, viz., terrorists. The best action in this scenario is to strip Moeed Yusuf’s US citizenship. Let him travel with Paki passport to be strip searched in every airport. he is not only a terrorist sympathizer rather a T* himself.

  6. The women is paranoid beyond a reasonable limit. She keeps blocking common people accusing them of working for ISI. She continues to claim stuff without a shred of evidence. She needs clininical help and rest.

    • Her stand is vindicated. What more evidence is needed. You will not understand because u r named fiction.

  7. Moeed like assets of Pak Terrorist Army should be monitored closely.
    They will seem harmless and promoting peace but in reality they provide the brain for otherwise trollish good for nothing terror apparatus.

  8. The article seems not more than baseless propaganda against the young Pakistani intellectual. The writer fails to build up the case against Moeed Yousuf owing to following two reasons: a) she is already bracketed as anti-pakistan due to her lope-sided judgements on Pakistan. b) she entirely fails to get the response of Moeed which could have rendered some credibility to her host of allegations.

    Her article may satisfy her ravishing ego and intellect yet it does not grant any credibility to her neutrality.

  9. A lot of Paki trolls with fake Indian names commenting here confirms that every detail in this post is 100% true. Please spend your money on food and medicines for people, ISI.

  10. Have read Moeed Yusuf’s writings in Dawn – they appear rational and offer a non- military path to promote Pakistan’s interests through regional collaboration with India. Whether he was an asset or not remains debatable

    • I don’t you understood what Moeed Yusuf says. All he says is, make India economically dependent through gas pipeline etc, build leverage, and then carry out terror attack on India so that we cannot retaliate. He is definitely a pakistani asset, no doubt about that.

  11. Strange to see so many pakis on Indian forum/comment section , India should use seek and destroy all paki interest anywhere and everywhere. All interested in helping accomplish that process are welcome by 95% of Indians .

    • You must live under a rock… please go on any pakistan forum and you will see indians lined up like dogs lol … dont forget your reality when making judgements on others …

  12. This is absolutely hilarious. I didn’t know you did comic relief. Much better at this than journalism. Keep it up!

  13. Is it Pak – bashing season again? Surprised that The Print should post scurrilous gossip. Ms Fair is becoming hysterical again. Was it the Imran Khan factor at the U.N. that did her in this time?

  14. Double agents, spy, unfair support, Pakistan sympathizer, WOW! I never realized the Americans and Pakistanis were at war or were enemies. I mean it’s not like the Pakistanis have helped the US fight and win at least 3 wars and extricate themselves from a blunder. Oh wait they have. And it’s not like the Indians sided with the Russians throughout the cold War! Oh wait they did. So let’s say, just for fun, Moeed Yousuf has a pro Pakistan leaning. SO WHAT? is it against US interest? Is it Unjustified? Is Pakistan not supporting the US as we speak and India funding anti US militia in Afghanistan?

  15. Ms C. CHRISTINE FAIR , You seem to be more double agent to me who is on payroll of Indian government to put Indian propaganda on an Indian propaganda website as compare to all those persons you mentioned above while fantasized a thriller for an upcoming Hollywood movie.
    I have gone through all your 8 articles which you posted here, they are fill with poisonous propaganda & nothing more, your writings are far from realities and facts but exceptional fictions. good to go for Tom Cruse .

  16. Christine Fair you are so biased against Pakistan that even as an Indian I must expose you…you are anything but Fair! Such jaundiced views do a disservice to peace between India, Pakistan and the US. You are a disgrace and an anti-scholar. Your lies are bald for any but the most ignorant.

  17. Moeed Yusuf is widely believed to be on the rolls of the ISI. There have been a litany of allegations against him. He has repeatedly been accused of being a part of the ISI propaganda machinery in the US. Hope the FBI/CIA initiate proceedings against him and the truth is disclosed.

  18. I just have to go through some of the related articles to find author’s personal kind of hatred towards Pakistan and specifically towards the people of Pakistan. Extremely sad to see this biased narrative that is nothing else but a propaganda being propogated through mainstream media.
    This guy Moeed Yusus is always on forefront when it comes to promoting an ecosystem of peace and harmony among US and its long lost allies but sad to see this unfair attempt to malign him.

    • What can you do, pakistan is so loved globally because of their deeds, so much fan fallowing, it’s quite hard to manage. Truth always seems propaganda to you guys for the simple reason that you do not allow real news channels and papers to operate in your country.

  19. Once I attended an event at USIP about Balochistan. The composition of the panelists was questioned by an audience who asked why there was no representation of Baloch while the panelists were discussing Balochistan, for a balanced discussion. The panelists included an Retired army officer and journalists from Punjab and they presented the Pakistani narrative with force while Mr. Yusuf was there to disseminate the Pakistani point of view, while keeping other perspectives out by not including one Baloch. This is how he has been operating.

  20. Since FBI asked Dr Fair to desist from meeting house oversight over Moeed, he might be a double agent and that’s probably oversight committee members are looking the other way despite her complaints.

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