Govt cool to Pak-Geelani meeting

Govt cool to Pak-Geelani meeting

Less than a week after foreign secretaries of the two countries explored possibilities of restarting parleys, Pakistan’s envoy to India Abdul Basit on Monday met Kashmiri separatist and hardline Hurriyat Conference leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani.

Basit met Geelani in New Delhi, and is understood to have briefed him about the discussions between foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan during the meeting in Islamabad last Tuesday.

Meetings between the Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India and Hurriyat Conference leaders ahead of proposed talks between foreign secretaries of the two countries in Islamabad last August had evoked a strong reaction from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government in New Delhi and the talks between the top diplomats had been called off.

The government, however, did not react to Basit’s meeting with Geelani on Monday, fuelling speculation if New Delhi was aware of it and chose to keep mum so that the “ice-breaking talks” between foreign secretaries of the two countries could lead to restart diplomatic engagement.

Just a few hours after his hour-long meeting with the Pakistan High Commissioner in New Delhi, Geelani hinted that they weren’t averse to a dialogue process with government of India if ‘favourable’ atmosphere was created for it.

“A sound and matured person can’t turn away from the importance and significance of the dialogues and the issues are always settled on the tables even after the wars,” Geelani said after the meeting.

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