Separatists unfazed despite talks being called off

Separatists unfazed despite talks being called off

Despite India calling off on Monday the foreign secretary-level bilateral talks with Pakistan slated to be held on August 25, Kashmir separatist leaders remained adamant on meeting Pakistan High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit in New Delhi.

In a stern and strong message to Pakistan, New Delhi on Monday called off the foreign secretary-level bilateral talks. The decision by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA government came after Basit issued an invite to Kashmiri separatists.

“Choose between a dialogue with India and separatists,” was India’s message to Pakistan.

Unfazed by the development, hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Geelani said he would go ahead and meet the Pakistani envoy in New Delhi on Tuesday. “Despite this development, we will go to New Delhi and meet Pakistan high commissioner,” he told Deccan Herald.

The octogenarian separatist leader claimed that his stand, that New Delhi doesn’t want peaceful settlement of the Kashmir issue, has been vindicated.

“We always believed in dialogue, but today our stand is vindicated that they (the government of India) don’t want to solve Kashmir issue,” he claimed.

Moderate Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, slamming New Delhi over calling off the proposed talks, alleged that the Central government was adopting a non-serious attitude on Kashmir. While Geelani is scheduled to meet Basit in New Delhi on Tuesday at 1 pm, Mirwaiz is meeting the Pakistani envoy at 4 pm the same day.

 “We will put forward our stand and viewpoint regarding the Kashmir issue,” said Mirwaiz, adding that the focus of the meeting would be the resolution of the Kashmir issue.

Meanwhile, the ruling National Conference(NC)-Congress alliance and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Jammu and Kashmir criticised the Modi government’s decision to call off the talks with Pakistan.

“During Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s tenure, separatists met General Musharraf several times and also held meetings with Vajpayee over Kashmir. When the BJP claims it will adopt the policy of Vajpayee on Kashmir, why has it taken such a stand?”  NC general secretary Ali Mohammad Sagar said.

PDP chief and MP Mehbooba Mufti expressed disappointment at the cancellation of talks.   “It is a highly negative development that casts a shadow on the atmosphere of reconciliation generated by the invitation to Nawaz Sharif in the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” she said in a statement.

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