New Delhi, March 22;
Ahead of attending the Pakistan Day function here on Monday, moderate Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Sunday said the grouping wants to lend full support to the India- Pakistan dialogue on Jammu and Kashmir.
The Mirwaiz, who arrived here earlier in the day to attend the Pakistan Day function at the Pakistan high commission, is leading a delegation of Hurriyat Conference for the event which will also meet Pakistan’s envoy here Abdul Basit.
Hardliner Syed Ali Geelani has also been invited to attend the event.
“Hurriyat wants to lend its full support to the India-Pakistan dialogue. We feel that while it is important for both countries to engage, it is equally important that they engage the people of Jammu and Kashmir in this dialogue. And when I say people of Jammu and Kashmir, I mean people on both sides of the ceasefire line,” the Mirwaiz told media persons on his arrival here.
The two Kashmiri separatist leaders are set to hold talks with the Pakistani envoy before attending the function.
The Hurriyat said in a statement earlier that the Mirwaiz “will lead a high-level delegation” to the capital to attend the event on the invitation of the Pakistan envoy and hold talks with him.
“The Hurriyat delegation will hold a detailed deliberation with Pakistan over the resumption of dialogue with India and various other political issues connected with the Kashmir dispute,” it said.
The Pakistani envoy had earlier met Geelani and updated him about the talks between Indian Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar and his Pakistani counterpart Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry in Islamabad earlier this month.
On Friday, the India had rebuffed Pakistan’s attempts to involve the separatist Hurriyat in talks on Jammu and Kashmir, saying that it has always stood for resolving all bilateral issues, including on Kashmir, peacefully and there would never be “any scope” for a third party coming in.
External affairs ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin, addressing a media briefing, had said: “Does India permit or countenance involvement of third parties other than the two governments in issues relating to India and Pakistan?
“The answer is: We have stated repeatedly that our position has been that we are committed to resolving all issues including the issue of Jammu and Kashmir bilaterally with Pakistan, through a peaceful bilateral dialogue, and that there was never and will be never any scope whatsoever for involvement of any third party,” he said.
Last year, India had called off the foreign secretary-level talks set for August 25 after the Pakistani high commissioner met Kashmiri separatist leaders ahead of the talks, ignoring India’s request not to do so.