India may show dignified restraint as Pak invites Kashmiri separatists

Some sections in the Pakistan establishment want to

GN Bureau | August 19, 2015


#Pakistan   #india   #hurriyat   #Kashmir   #sartaj aziz   #ajit doval  

The NSA-level talks between India and Pakistan will take place despite Pakistani high commission inviting Kashmiri separatist leaders to meet Pakistan’s national security advisor Sartaj Aziz, who is coming to Delhi for talks with his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval on Sunday.

Sources said India would make its stand clear later today in the backdrop of reports that hardline Kashmiri separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani will meet Aziz while other separatists leaders like Mirwaiz Umar Farooq were invited for the reception being held in Aziz's honour by the Pakistan mission.

Many in the government feel that some sections in the Pakistan establishment want to "scuttle" the Indo-Pak talks and are ratcheting up anti-India activities.

However, the burden seems to be that of India as the proposer of the meeting which was agreed between PM Sharif and his counterpart Narendra Modi in Ufa, Russia, last month.

The NSA talks are mandated to "discuss all issues connected to terrorism", according to the Ufa joint statement.

Last year, India had unilaterally called off foreign secretary-level talks after the Pakistan high commissioner here had held "consultations" with the Kashmiri separatist leaders on the eve of the meeting.

"Let's see what happens (if they go ahead with the meeting with the separatists). The government will respond appropriately," government sources said.

Both the factions of Huriyat Conference headed by Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and other separatist leaders such as Yasin Malik and Naeem Khan have been invited by Pakistan high commissioner Abdul Basit for talks on August 23.

"We received the invite over phone on Tuesday evening. The Pakistan envoy wants us (Geelani and his party leaders) to meet Sartaj Aziz before talks with India," Ayaz Akbar, spokesperson for Geelani's Huriyat Conference, said.

Farooq's spokesperson Shahid-Ul-Islam also confirmed the invite and said: "We have been invited for the reception of Sartaj Aziz on the day of NSA talks. But we are yet to take a decision."

Yesterday, Pakistan army chief General Raheel Sharif and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Lt Gen Rizwan Akhtar called on PM Nawaz Sharif to discuss the upcoming visit of Aziz to New Delhi.

Sharif's discussions with the military top brass came a day after he chaired a high-level meeting to discuss the agenda of the NSA-level talks.

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