Pakistan meeting Kashmir separatists is not OK: India
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.
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.