Lost in the furor over what Moscow did or did not do, and what effects it did or did not have, is the broader question of what this incident says about Russian intentions and aims. Just how unusual was it for great powers to interfere in a democracy’s electoral processes, and just how outraged should Americans be by the alleged activities?
Dr. Syed Zafar Mahmood has served as a civil servant in the Indian Government since 1977. From 1988 to 1991, he acted as Indian Consul (Haj) and Director of Indian Schools in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. In this capacity, he streamlined and computerized the Indian Haj Management in Saudi Arabia and opened new Indian schools in five Saudi cities. In 1999, as Administrator to the Combined Wakf Board of Punjab, Haryana, H.P. and Chandigarh, Dr. Mahmood computerized the particulars of 36,000 wakf properties spread over 36 districts in four states, modernized educational syllabi in 500 Madrasas and Maktabs, and introduced Merit Based Scholarships in 75 institutions. Since 2001, Dr. Mahmood has served as Commissioner of Income Tax.
In 2006, Dr. Mahmood was appointed Officer on Special Duty to the Prime Minister's High Level Committee, which prepared the Report on the Social, Economic and Educational Status of the Muslim Community of India (Sachar Committee). The Committee's Report was submitted to the Prime Minister on November 17, 2006 and was tabled in Parliament on November 30, 2007.
Dr. Mahmood is a leader of India's Muslim and interfaith communities. Since 1997, he has served as President of the Zakat Foundation of India, which oversees the organized collection and utilization of various Islamic charities. Additionally, he is Director-General of God's Grace Foundation, for which he organized eight interfaith Bridge Building Sessions in collaboration with various communities, and represented India at the U.S. State Department's "Islamic Life in the U.S." project in 2004. Finally, he has served as President of the Interfaith Coalition for Peace since 2005.
Dr. Mahmood holds a B.Sc. (Honours) degree in Physics, a M.S. in Political Science, and a Ph.D. in Public Administration from Aligarh Muslim University in India.
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