Four days after speaking to All Parties Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi Saturday dialled Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani and discussed the human rights situation in Kashmir, The Sunday Express has learnt.
The phone conversations between Pakistan’s Foreign Minister and Hurriyat leaders are unusual, and New Delhi had earlier summoned Pakistan’s envoy over what it called “direct interference” in India’s internal affairs.
Sources said Qureshi and Geelani had an “in-depth discussion” on the deteriorating situation in Jammu and Kashmir and the “gross human rights violations” in Kashmir.
While there was no official response to the phone conversation, India had warned Pakistan of “implications” if they did not desist from such actions. This had been conveyed by Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale to Pakistan High Commissioner Sohail Mahmood Wednesday night, after Qureshi’s phone conversation with Mirwaiz Tuesday. After Mirwaiz, Pak Foreign Minister dials Hurriyat leader Geelani, Pakistan minister to directly dial Hurriyat leaders. The NDA government has, in the last four-and-half years, objected to their meetings as well, and even cancelling the Foreign secretaries and Foreign ministers meetings on this account.
South Block sources told The Indian Express Saturday that the government will respond Sunday after the details are ascertained.
MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar Thursday said that this was a brazen attempt by Pakistan to subvert India’s unity and to violate “our sovereignty and territorial integrity, by none other than the Pakistan Foreign Minister”.
“The Pakistan Foreign Minister’s actions are tantamount to direct interference in the internal affairs of its neighbour. Foreign Secretary underscored that by this action, Pakistan has confirmed yet again that it officially abets and encourages individuals associated with terrorism and anti-India activities,” the MEA spokesperson had said.
Kumar had also said that the government has now made it clear that any repeat of such actions will have “consequences”. He said he was not “at liberty” to spell out the contours of the response.