Pakistan is all set to ignore India’s advice that Pakistan NSA should not meet Kashmir separatists before NSA-level talks thereby putting the event in danger of being called off.
Reacting to India’s advice, Pakistan said that Pakistan NSA Sartaj Aziz’s meeting with the Hurriyat would go ahead as planned. The positions of the two countries could hamper efforts to put the stalled bilateral peace talks on an even keel.
Aziz’s meeting with the Hurriyat is on, according to Pakistani government sources. The sources added Pakistan will not “act” as per India’s directions and talks cannot be based on “conditional diplomacy”.
Earlier, police personnel were deployed outside the homes of secessionist leaders because the Centre wanted to discourage Hurriyat leaders’ from travelling to Delhi to meet Aziz on Monday.
The Hurriyat leaders who were placed under house arrest include Syed Ali Shah Geelani of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat, moderate leaders Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and Moulvi Abbas Ansari and JKLF chief Yasin Malik.
On 23 August, Mirwaiz is scheduled to meet Pakistan NSA Sartaz Aziz during a reception at Pakistan high commission office in New Delhi.
Hurriyat hawk Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who is scheduled to meet Aziz on 24 August, continues to be under house arrest at his Hyder Pora residence, unlike Mirwaiz and Malik.
All the while, the Centre did not take J&K chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed into confidence before proceeding going ahead to restrain Hurriyat leaders, forcing them to cancel their plan to meet Pakistan NSA Sartaj Aziz.
The arrest and subsequent release of the separatist leaders sparked a political storm with separatists and main opposition party National Conference launching a frontal attack on Mufti-led government, which put the onus on the police, terming it (the house arrest of separatists) an ‘administrative action’. Making amends, the Centre released the Hurriyat leaders following by Mufti’s protests at being bypassed.
Sources said the order to arrest Hurriyat leaders came straight from top officer in Delhi. Intelligence Bureau director Dineshwar Sharma called the J&K DGP who ordered the state’s senior police officers to carry out orders immediately.
Meanwhile, the separatists seem wary about their fate. “Our fingers are crossed (about allowing us to fly to Delhi to meet Aziz). We want India and Pakistan to move ahead. We feel dialogue is better than deadlock,” said Mirwaiz.
Meanwhile, India had told Pakistan in no uncertain terms not to meet the separatists ahead of the NSA-level talks as it would not be apt, and to limit the talks agenda only to terrorism related issues.