FO confirms Sartaj Aziz’s meeting with Hurriyat leaders
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.