Toughening its stance, Pakistan today rejected India’s “advice” not to hold a meeting between its NSA Sartaj Aziz and Hurriyat leaders in New Delhi, saying it will not “depart from an established practice” of interacting with them.
This was conveyed to Indian High Commissioner T C A Raghavan here by Pakistan Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, who also made it clear that any pre-conditions for the talks between Aziz and his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval were not acceptable to Pakistan.
“Pakistani leadership has always interacted with the Kashmir/Hurriyat leadership, during their visits to India. Pakistan sees no reason to depart from this established past practice,” a Pakistan Foreign Office statement said, adding the decision was taken after Foreign Office consolations.
Significantly, Pakistan’s reaction to Indian advice came after a crucial meeting of civilian and military leadership here chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
Earlier in the day, the External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson in New Delhi said Pakistan has been advised yesterday that it would not be appropriate for Aziz to meet with Hurriyat representatives.
“Responding to the ‘advice’ of Government of India, conveyed by their High Commissioner that Sartaj Aziz may not meet the Hurriyat leaders during his forthcoming visit to India, the Foreign Secretary conveyed to the Indian High Commissioner that it would not be possible for Pakistan to accept this advice,” the statement added.