New Delhi rendezvous: Sartaj Aziz’s meeting with APHC leaders kicks up storm

Published: November 11, 2013
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Sartaj Aziz exits the ceremonial lounge following his arrival at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi. PHOTO: AFP

Sartaj Aziz exits the ceremonial lounge following his arrival at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi. PHOTO: AFP

NEW DELHI: 

A meeting at Pakistan’s High Commission between Prime Minister’s Adviser on foreign affairs and national security Sartaj Aziz and leaders of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) created a veritable firestorm in India on Sunday.

At the meeting, attended by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Yasin Malik, Shabbir Shah, Syed Ali Geelani and head of the Dukhtaran-e-Millat Asiya Andrabi, matters relating to Pakistan-India bilateral relationship, the Kashmir policy and recent tensions along the Line of Control came up for discussion.

Prior to the meeting, the leader of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, Rajnath Singh, told reporters that the Indian government had committed a blunder by allowing this meeting and that it was a breach of diplomatic norms. Indian TV news channels also showed Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah questioning the central government’s decision to allow the meeting to go ahead.

Several Indian news channels, including some of the most prominent ones ran the news of the meeting as their lead story in their hourly bulletins. The popular Times Now channel, owned by the group that also owns the Times of India, also ran a banner on the top of the screen while reporting the meeting which said: “Sharif needles India yet again”, despite the fact that the Pakistan prime minister was not even in India.

The news anchor of the same channel also repeatedly said that “Sharif’s duplicity had been exposed” without really explaining what had led him (the anchor) to come to such a conclusion.

The meeting and its run-up was also widely discussed on social media, especially Twitter. Anurag Thakur, a BJP member of the Lok Sabha from Haryana, tweeted that he strongly opposed the meeting.  Some Indians said on Twitter that how would Pakistan feel if an Indian official met members of the Baloch Republican Army in Islamabad.

Sartaj Aziz is in New Delhi to attend the 11th Asia-Europe Meeting and foreign ministers of over 30 states are expected to participate in the conference which will run November 11-12. He is also expected to meet Indian Minister for External Affairs Salman Khurshid on the sidelines.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 11th,2013.

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Reader Comments (17)

  • Jatin
    Nov 11, 2013 - 9:56AM

    This is it….

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  • sunil vohra
    Nov 11, 2013 - 9:59AM

    Why does ET always spell DELHI as DEHLI !!!
    Anurag Thakur is A Lok Sabha MP from Himachal and not HaryanaRecommend

  • Saad
    Nov 11, 2013 - 10:46AM

    Times of India? the aman ki asha supporters? Its all for Aman TOI. Relax.

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  • Sandeep
    Nov 11, 2013 - 11:10AM

    India shouldn’t be afraid, Pakistan have been speaking with seperatists since years. Only to find India prevailing over all.

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  • Hafiz
    Nov 11, 2013 - 11:11AM

    now indian leaders also can meet balochistan leaders.

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  • joy
    Nov 11, 2013 - 1:00PM

    why do fellow Indians get upset over such meetings, these are nothing more than the coming together of a few egoists..so just let them be.

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  • Nov 11, 2013 - 1:15PM

    In my view the hurriyat leaders do not gain credibility by meeting pakistani leaders – but I suppose – some all important money flows into their coffers.

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  • Last Word
    Nov 11, 2013 - 3:45PM

    Just wait for the new govt in New Delhi to take over, all these separatist leaders will be languishing in Tihar jail and allowed no visitors.Recommend

  • LalaKiMKaa
    Nov 11, 2013 - 3:57PM

    Hurriyat..sharia….democratic party..lol.z………accept islam..they dont even know other subject and talk about rights of people…..Recommend

  • fasmik
    Nov 11, 2013 - 4:06PM

    From the comments here , one can realize that pak really stepped on their tail….infact smashed it….Recommend

  • AD
    Nov 11, 2013 - 5:41PM

    Indian high Commissioner should meet Bloch separatist in Islamabad over cup of a tea.

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  • V. C. Bhutani
    Nov 11, 2013 - 7:05PM

    As usual, Sartaj Aziz created dust with his meetings with so-called separatists of J&K. He should know, and Pakistanis in general should know, that these separatists or any other brand of secessionists have no hope of succeeding ever.
    Secondly, if the Indian Minister of External Affairs listened to me, I would advise him to seek a meeting with the freedom fighters of Baluchistan: naturally, the meeting should be held in Quetta – without the presence of any Pakistani representative.
    It is unlikely that Pakistan government shall allow a meeting of that kind. They are devoid of self-confidence and are afraid of Indian contact with Baluch secessionists.
    Will that conduce to the peace and tranquillity of Pakistanis?
    This is not the first time that Sartaj Aziz has given a poor account of himself. He has been quite consistent even during the time he was foreign minister years ago. He must have memory of his interview on BBC.
    V. C. Bhutani, Delhi, 11 Nov 2013, 1935 IST

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  • Leela
    Nov 11, 2013 - 9:05PM

    Sartaj Aziz should think twice before meeting these guys. Never know in India, there could be a non state actor drone that may pay a surprise visit!

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  • Dr Dang
    Nov 11, 2013 - 9:28PM

    I don’t even read these indo-pak meeting articles, just scroll down directly for the amusing comments.

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  • Midhat
    Nov 11, 2013 - 9:41PM

    The same outburst was witnessed when Hina R. Khar met the Kashmiri leaders and she did a good job explaining Pakistan’s position. Kashmir has been a disputed region since 1947 with both the countries parties to the dispute. Pakistan’s foreign policy and its stance on the issue has always been very clear and consistent for ages yet Indian’s outburst was as if it was an unexpected surprise.

    Baluchistan cannot be compared to this situation. India has never been a stake holder in baluchistan’s movement nor do they have an open international foreign policy for baluchistan. If they do, then it would make sense! If Pakistan’s minsiters met separatist from asams or other states, then the sitaution could have been comparable.

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  • G. Din
    Nov 12, 2013 - 12:54AM

    @Midhat:
    ” India has never been a stake holder in baluchistan’s movement …”
    Nor, was NATO a stake-holder in Kosovo. Yet it got Kosovo for Kosovars. Nor was Australia a stake-holder in East Timor; yet it intervened.
    You have yet to get Kashmir for “Kashmiris” even after 67 years, as you say.

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  • Anjaan
    Nov 12, 2013 - 2:00AM

    Yawn …… !!!!

    Kashmir is not negotiable … period ….Recommend

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