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Pakistan does a balancing act by inviting Hurriyat to reception party for Sartaj Aziz

After the cancellation  of  talks  by New Delhi last year over a similar invitation, separatists see the repeat invite as “toughening” of Pakistan’s stand  on  Kashmir  which they welcome.

Pakistan separatists, pakistan reception separatists, pakistan news After the cancellation  of  talks  by New Delhi last year over a similar invitation, separatists see the repeat invite as “toughening” of Pakistan’s stand  on  Kashmir  which they welcome.

A year after New Delhi cancelled the foreign secretary-level talks with Pakistan for inviting separatists before the talks, Pakistan has once again invited  the separatists to the Pakistan High Commission for a meeting with Sartaj  Aziz  on  August  23,  the  day the NSA-level talks between the two countries are slated.

The  separatist leaders, including Syed  Ali Shah Geelani – who recently rejected  an  invite from  the Pakistan High Commissioner for Eid Milan — have welcomed the invite and decided to join Aziz on Sunday.

It didn’t take much time or deliberations for the separatists to accept the invite. The separatists see themselves as the primary party to any dialogue between India and Pakistan over Kashmir and they welcome anything that reinforces  their  stand of being the  principal party. That is why the separatists  readily accepted  the  invite seeing it as the vindication of their stand.

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After the cancellation of talks by New Delhi last year over a similar invitation, separatists see the repeat invite as “toughening” of Pakistan’s stand  on  Kashmir which they welcome. At the same time, however, they are wary of its fallout especially with a BJP government in New Delhi.

For  Pakistan, it is a tightrope walk. It cannot afford to annoy New Delhi  ahead of  the  bilateral talks, especially as they have already witnessed repercussions of such an adventure.  In fact, this year, the Pakistan  High Commission in New Delhi, had cancelled the customary Iftar party with  the separatists  ahead of the meeting of Indo-Pak prime ministers in Russia, a step that didn’t go well with the separatists.

At the same time, Pakistan can’t afford to annoy the separatists in the Valley whom they have groomed over the past two decades. Pakistan was taken aback  when  Geelani  recently rejected its invitation to an Eid Milan reception  at  the  Pakistan  High Commission. Geelani and JKLF chief Yasin Malik rejected the invite as a mark of protest for not including Kashmir in the joint statement of the Indo-Pak prime ministers at Ufa, Russia.

Perhaps that is why the Pakistan  High Commissioner  has invited the separatist leaders to a “reception” for Sartaj Aziz on Sunday evening which is  likely  to take place soon after the talks between Aziz and India’s NSA Ajit Doval.

First published on: 19-08-2015 at 15:43 IST
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