A day after India cancelled the Foreign Secretary-level talks with Pakistan to protest against a meeting between Kashmiri separatist leaders and Islamabad’s envoy to New Delhi, Hardline Hurriyat Conference leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani on Tuesday met Pakistan’s High Commissioner Abdul Basit.
The separatist leader reportedly said that Kashmir is not an internal issue as he slammed government’s decision to call off the talks with Pakistan.
Following the development, protests broke out against Geelani outside Pakistan High Commission.
Earlier in the day, Geelani said it was “not a genuine reason” to cancel talks as “we had been talking (to Pakistan) during Congress regime as well as during the tenure of (NDA’s Prime Minister) Atal Bihari Vajpayee as well. This is not a new thing.”
Geelani said it is “very unfortunate” that the government of India has cancelled the scheduled Foreign Secretary level talks. “India should not have done it. The ground that has been made to cancel the talks is not a genuine cause,” he insisted.
India had on Monday called off the talks between Foreign Secretaries of the two countries scheduled to be held in Islamabad on August 25, telling Pakistan bluntly to choose between dialogue and hobnobbing with the separatists.
India cancelled the talks, raising strong objections to consultations held with separatist Hurriyat leaders by Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit.
While the Pakistan described the move as a “setback” to Indo-Pak ties and defended its consultations with Kashmiri separatists, the separatist leaders said that they would go ahead with their meeting with Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit in Delhi on Tuesday despite talks being cancelled.