Pak­istan meet­ing Kash­mir sep­a­ratists is not OK: In­dia

The China Post - - LIFE - BY MUNEEZA NAQVI

Talks be­tween the top se­cu­rity ad­vis­ers of neigh­bors and archri­vals In­dia and Pak­istan have hit sev­eral road­blocks over the con­tentious Kash­mir re­gion be­fore they’ve even started.

Pak­istan’s Sar­taz Aziz is sched­uled to ar­rive in New Delhi to meet In­dia’s na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser Ajit Do­val on Sun­day, just as both coun­tries have upped their rhetoric over the dis­puted re­gion of Kash­mir.

On Fri­day, In­dia said that it would not be “ap­pro­pri­ate” for Aziz to meet with In­dian Kash­mir’s sep­a­ratist lead­ers. Pak­istan’s high com­mis­sioner to New Delhi had in­vited those lead­ers for a meet­ing with Aziz.

“In­dia has ad­vised Pak­istan yesterday that it would not be ap­pro­pri­ate for Mr. Sar­taj Aziz to meet with Hur­riyat rep­re­sen­ta­tives dur­ing his visit to In­dia,” Vikas Swarup, the spokesman for In­dia’s Min­istry of Ex­ter­nal Af­fairs said in a state­ment.

On Thurs­day, some sep­a­ratist lead­ers were briefly de­tained in Sri­na­gar, the main city of In­dian- con­trolled Kash­mir and then re­leased a few hours later.

Mir­waiz Umar Fa­rooq, one of those de­tained, said the In­dian gov­ern­ment was “con­fused” ahead of the talks. He said the aim of their visit to New Delhi was “sup­port­ing the In­dia and Pak­istan di­a­logue.”

The meet­ing be­tween Aziz and Do­val sig­nals the re­sump­tion of di­a­logue be­tween the two coun­tries, a year af­ter In­dia can­celed talks be­tween the two for­eign sec­re­taries and af­ter Pak­istan con­sulted Kash­miri sep­a­ratists.

The hos­til­ity be­tween Pak­istan and In­dia dates back to the time that In­dia gained in­de­pen­dence from Bri­tish rule in 1947 and the state of Pak­istan was cre­ated, but the rift has grown since Naren­dra Modi, a Hindu na­tion­al­ist, was elected prime min­is­ter last year. Skir­mishes be­tween In­dian and Pak­istani troops in the dis­puted re­gion of Kash­mir have also in­creased in re­cent months.

Pak­istan on Thurs­day also can­celed an up­com­ing con­fer­ence of law­mak­ers from Com­mon­wealth coun­tries af­ter In­dia de­manded that leg­is­la­tors from In­dian- held Kash­mir also be in­cluded.

Pak­istan’s For­eign Min­istry has said that it hoped that In­dia will al­low Kash­miri lead­ers to meet with Aziz in New Delhi.

“Kash­miris are im­por­tant stake­hold­ers in the con­text of Jammu and Kash­mir dis­pute and ef­forts to seek its peace­ful set­tle­ment in ac­cor­dance with the U. N. Se­cu­rity Coun­cil Res­o­lu­tions,” spoke­man Qazi Khalilul­lah told re­porters on Thurs­day.

AP

A Kash­miri woman walks near a po­lice ve­hi­cle parked block­ing the gate to the res­i­dence of se­nior sep­a­ratist leader Syed Ali Gee­lani in Sri­na­gar, In­dian-con­trolled Kash­mir, Thurs­day, Aug 20.

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