Pak envoy continues meeting with Kashmir separatist leaders
Pakistan's High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit continued to meet Kashmiri separatist leaders here on Tuesday, in an apparent and open defiance of an Indian Government directive to desist from doing so.
Basit met with the chairman of the hardline faction of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front leader Yasin Malik, and is scheduled to meet with Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, the chairman of the moderate faction of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference later this evening.
High Commissioner Basit had earlier met another Kashmiri separatist leader Shabbir Ahmed on Monday.
These meetings on Monday and Tuesday took place despite the Indian Government clearly and emphatically telling High Commissioner Basit not to go ahead with these negotiations, as it could jeopardize the foreign secretary-level talks scheduled for August 25.
Major Indian newspapers reported Tuesday that Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh had made it a point to specifically call the Pakistan envoy to inform him of New Delhi's position on the matter, but the latter appears to have ignored the warning and gone ahead with the talks.
India saw it as an attempt to "interfere in India's internal affairs", as Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin termed it, and cancelled the talks. Confirming the cancellation of the talks, Akbaruddin had further said, "It is felt that no useful purpose will be served by the Foreign Secretary of India Sujatha Singh going to Islamabad next week."
(Posted on 20-08-2014)