India-Pakistan talks: Islamabad ignores Hurriyat leaders

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Shunning its traditional ways of holding talks with separatist camp, Pakistan has snubbed hard-line Hurriyat Conference leaders by not inviting them for a meeting with its visiting foreign secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry in New Delhi. Ayaz Akbar, spokesman of hard-line Hurriyat Conference led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani, said that it is probably for the first time in 20 years that there is no invite for the Hurriyat to meet any Pakistani dignitary. Responding to a question on why Pakistan did not invite Hurriyat leaders, Mr Akbar said, “You should ask them”.

Pakistan had cancelled the National Security Advisor (NSA) level talks after India raised objections to the proposed meeting of Sartaz Aziz with the separatists last year. Separatist leader Shabir Ahmad Shah and moderate Hurriyat Conference leader Bilal Gani Lone were placed under house arrest after they landed in New Delhi on August 22 2015.

Reacting to the meeting of foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan, Moderate Hurriyat Conference said that it is not opposed to the dialogue process and both the countries should attempt to create a conducive atmosphere to carry forward the dialogue process. “The Indo-Pak foreign secretary-level talks on the sidelines of Heart of Asia conference is a good sign and it is hoped that both the countries will shun the confrontational attitude and adopt meaningful dialogue to resolve all outstanding issues including Kashmir,” Hurriyat headed by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said in a statement.

The foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan met in the Indian capital to make yet another attempt to start comprehensive bilateral dialogue, which has been derailed by the Pathankot terror attacks. India’s Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar met his Pakistani counterpart Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhary at the South Block, the seat of India’s external affairs ministry, on April 26, at the sidelines of the Heart of Asia Conference on Afghanistan.

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