Pakistan High Commissioner in New Delhi Abdul Basit has invited leaders from the disputed Kashmir state ‘for consultations’ in the Indian capital ahead of the foreign secretary-level talks between the two countries on August 25 in Islamabad.
“All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) Chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq has been invited by the Pakistan High Commission for consultations in Delhi on August 19,” an APHC spokesperson told the Press Trust of India on Sunday.
Hurriyat leaders Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Shabir Ahmad Shah, who last year floated the third faction of the amalgam of political and religious parties of Indian Kashmir, have also been invited by the Pakistan high commissioner.
However, pro-independence Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (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.
Pakistani envoys have in the past talked to Kashmiri leaders before any major diplomatic initiative with India.
However, Islamabad broke off from this tradition when Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif visited India to attend the swearing in ceremony of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in May this year.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 18th,2014.