Pak draws its line backing Kashmiri Separatist leaders

RSTV Bureau

FILE: File photo of hardline Kashmiri Separatist leader SAS Geelani in Srinagar. Photo – PTI

After the bitter cancellation of NSA talks, Pakistan establishment has drawn a hard line on the issue which led to the cancellaton of NSA talks and even earlier, the Foreign Secretary level talks. Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has categorically stated that the Kashmiri separatist leaders are not a “third party” but “important” stakeholders in the “issue” concerning Kashmir. Addressing his cabinet, he elaborated saying that any dialogue process with India which does not include the “Kashmir issue” would be futile.

“Kashmiri leaders are not the third party but an important party to this issue. Any decision on their future cannot be made without their opinion and consultation,” Nawaz Sharif said on Monday.

The reports were published in the widely circulated and one of the most prominent national daily. The national daily further reported that Prime Minister also discussed the security situation in the country.

The line taken by Nawaz Sharif bears a potential of impacting the equation with India, as the latter has more than firmly stated that Kashmiri separatist leaders are not the “stakeholders” in the talks between India and Pakistan.

The much anticipated meeting between NSA Ajit Doval and his Pakistan counterpart Sartaj Aziz ran into trouble after Pakistan High Commission had invited the Kashmiri Separatist leaders to hold talks with Aziz ahead of his meeting with NSA Ajit Doval. Amid unease over invite, Indian authorities too made its intention clear by first placing the Separatists under the house arrest in Srinagar, albeit briefly, and later detaining Separatist Shabir Shah the moment he landed in New Delhi on Saturday, the day Sartaj Aziz was scheduled to land for his NSA talks.

Pak-High-Commissioner-n-SeperatistEarlier last year, India had cancelled the Foreign Secretary level talks with Pakistan after its High Commission in New Delhi had called Hurriyat Conference and other Separatist leaders just before the talks. The Foreign Secretary talks were scheduled to be held in Islamabad.

Sharif’s comments before his cabinet came after his Adviser on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz briefed him and the PM’s cabinet colleagues over the cancellation of talks.

Interestingly, even after the cancellation of much anticipated NSA talks, the Pakistan establishment on Sunday said that meetings between the DGMOs of the two countries and representatives of Pakistan Rangers and BSF will go ahead as agreed in the Ufa joint statement. The confirmation of this round of meeting was lent by no other than Sartaj Aziz himself.

“I think Pakistan Rangers-BSF (meeting)…is confirmed for 6th (September). Directors General of Military Operations (DGMOs) can meet anywhere, they can agree among themselves, whenever they want to meet,” Sartaj Aziz told the press.

The bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of SCO Summit held at Ufa, Russia had generated a good degree of optimism between the ties of two neighbour nations. However, the recent events has certainly jeopardised more than just the talks.

(With inputs from the PTI)