FO con­firms Sar­taj Aziz’s meet­ing with Hur­riyat lead­ers

The Pak Banker - - NATIONAL -

For­eign Of­fice spokesper­son Qazi Khalilul­lah con­firmed on Thurs­day that Sar­taj Aziz will meet Hur­riyat lead­ers in New Delhi, hours af­ter re­ports of Hur­riyat lead­ers were be­ing placed un­der house ar­rest in In­dia cir­cu­lated.

"Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ad­viser Sar­taj Aziz will meet the Hur­riyat con­fer­ence lead­ers in New Delhi as con­sul­ta­tions with them are a rou­tine mat­ter," Khalilul­lah said, ac­cord­ing to Ra­dio Pak­istan. "Pak­istan and In­dia are in the process of fi­nal­is­ing agenda for the na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser talks in New Delhi on Au­gust 23," he added.

The state­ment comes af­ter Hur­riyat lead­ers were placed un­der house ar­rest on Thurs­day but In­dian gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial con­firmed that the gov­ern­ment would not call off next week's talks with Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ad­viser Sar­taj Aziz de­spite his plans to meet Hur­riyat lead­ers in New Delhi, ac­cord­ing to In­dian media.

Ac­cord­ing to sources, in­vi­ta­tions were sent to key Hur­riyat lead­ers, in­clud­ing chair­per­son Mir­waiz Umer Fa­rooq and Syed Ali Shah Gee­lani, for a re­cep­tion hosted by the Pak­istan High Com­mis­sion in New Delhi. Although, in the past New Delhi had al­lowed Pak­istani of­fi­cials vis­it­ing In­dia to meet APHC lead­ers, the Bharatiya Janata Party gov­ern­ment has taken a hard­line stance on it. In Au­gust last year, New Delhi had can­celled sched­uled for­eign sec­re­tary level talks in protest af­ter Pak­istan's high com­mis­sioner held 'con­sul­ta­tions' with Kash­miri lead­ers.

Ac­cord­ing to sources, there will be no 'for­mal agenda' for the up­com­ing meet­ing be­tween the na­tional se­cu­rity ad­vis­ers of Pak­istan and In­dia af­ter the two hos­tile neigh­bours ap­par­ently could not agree on spe­cific is­sues for dis­cus­sion.

Ter­ror­ism-re­lated is­sues are sup­posed to be dis­cussed at the New Delhi meet­ing that is tak­ing place in line with a de­ci­sion taken at a meet­ing be­tween Prime Min­is­ter Nawaz Sharif and his In­dian coun­ter­part Naren­dra Modi in the Rus­sia city of Ufa last month.

How­ever, a se­nior Pak­istani of­fi­cial dis­closed that the agenda of the meet­ing be­tween Prime Min­is­ter's Ad­viser on Na­tional Se­cu­rity and For­eign Af­fairs Sar­taj Aziz and his In­dian coun­ter­part Ajit Do­val will be ' open ended'. The of­fi­cial fur­ther said that the agenda has been kept open in or­der to al­low both sides to dis­cuss is­sues of their con­cerns.

Mean­while, the FO spokesper­son said that Kash­mir dis­pute is in­cluded in agenda of talks with In­dia. He said that In­dia vi­o­lated the ceasefire treaty at least 70 times in past two months. While talk­ing about ef­forts for curb­ing ter­ror­ism, Qazi said that Pak­istan has no dis­tinc­tion of "good or bad" ter­ror­ists.

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