July jinx haunts nations ahead of meet

July jinx haunts nations ahead of meet

Indo-Pak talks: New Delhi upset as Hina Rabbani Khar meets separatists

Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar arrives as Pakistan’s high commissioner to India Shahid Malik, right, looks on at the airport in New Delhi on Tuesday. AP

Khar not only ignored New Delhi’s reservations and had a meeting with Syed Ali Shah Geelani, chief of the hard-line faction of the Hurriyat Conference, in the Pakistani High Commission here, but even issued a statement reiterating what she termed as Islamabad’s “principled position on Kashmir”. She met the chief of the other faction of All Party Hurriyat Conference, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, too.

“Pakistan’s principled position on Jammu and Kashmir is based on the realisation by the Kashmiri people of their right to self determination, which has been assured to them by the UN and the international community,” said Khar, adding: “Pakistan seeks the resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir issue in accordance with the aspirations of the Kashmiri people.”

Krishna and Khar are set to meet on Wednesday to review the outcomes of the series of talks Indian and Pakistani officials had in the past five months.

The Pakistani Foreign Minister met Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chief Yasin Malik in Lahore on Monday.

India is understood to be unhappy over Khar’s talks with separatists of Kashmir.
Sources said India had made its reservations known to Pakistan a few days back when her plan to meet them ahead of the ministerial talks had been made public.

New Delhi believes that the arrest of Washington DC based Kashmiri activist Ghulam Nabi Fai by the FBI and revelation of his links with Pakistani Inter Services Intelligence vindicated its belief that the separatism in the valley drew its sustenance from Islamabad.

Pakistani Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir, however, sought to defend Fai on Tuesday and said the latter was a “great” champion of the cause of the Kashmiris.

Though India is not averse to discussing the issue of Jammu and Kashmir with Pakistan, it wants the ministerial parleys on Wednesday to focus just on cross-LoC confidence-building measures.

However, Islamabad raised its pitch on the political issue of Kashmir, ostensibly to counter New Delhi’s insistence on discussing terrorism emanating from Pakistan, particularly the tardy progress in the trial of the 26/11 plotters in the Anti-Terrorism Court in Rawalpindi.
Krishna’s talks with Khar’s predecessor Shah Mahmood Qureshi on July 15 last year had ended in a disaster, with the joint news-conference after the marathon meeting in the Pakistan Government’s Foreign Office in Islamabad turning into an exchange of rhetoric between the two neighbours.

It had reminded many the July 2001 Agra Summit between the then Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and the then Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, which too had collapsed without making any headway in easing the relation between the two neighbours.

With July jinx haunting the India-Pakistan ties, Khar sought to strike a positive note and told journalists soon after her arrival here on Tuesday: “I hope that these two countries (Pakistan and India) have learnt lessons from history, but are not burdened by history and we can move forward as good, friendly neighbours who have stake in each other’s future and both the countries understand their responsibilities to the region and within the region.”

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