Pakistan envoy to talk to separatists before Foreign Secretary meet

Srinagar, Aug 17 : Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit has invited separatist leaders from Kashmir “for consultations” at Delhi ahead of the Foreign Secretary level talks between the two countries on August 25 in Islamabad, the moderate Hurriyat faction today said. ”Hurriyat Conference Chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq has been invited by the Pakistan High Commission for consultations in Delhi on August 19,” a spokesman of the moderate faction of the separatist amalgam told PTI.

The chairman of the hardline faction of the Hurriyat, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, and senior separatist leader Shabir Ahmad Shah, who floated the third faction of the amalgam last year, have also been invited by the Pakistan High Commissioner. However, pro-independence JKLF chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik has not been invited. “We have not received any communication from the Pakistan High Commission,” a spokesman of the JKLF said.

Pakistan envoys have in the past too talked to separatists from Kashmir before any major diplomatic initiative with India. However, Islamabad broke off from this tradition when Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif visited India to attend the swearing in ceremony of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in May this year.