Kashmir separatists meet Pakistan foreign secretary
Urging Islamabad to include Kashmiris in the India-Pakistan dialogue process, separatist leaders from the valley met visiting Pakistani Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir here Wednesday, a day before he meets his Indian counterpart Nirupama Rao.delhi Updated: Feb 24, 2010 21:05 IST
Urging Islamabad to include Kashmiris in the India-Pakistan dialogue process, separatist leaders from the valley met visiting Pakistani Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir here Wednesday, a day before he meets his Indian counterpart Nirupama Rao.
The chairman of the hardline faction of the Hurriyat Conference, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, was the first to meet Bashir at a hotel in south Delhi.
Staunchly pro-Pakistan, Geelani, who has been camping in the capital for medical treatment, refused to give details about the meeting that lasted about 15 minutes.
"Pakistan has been giving moral and political support to Kashmiris in their freedom struggle and will continue doing so," Geelani told IANS when asked about the meeting. "We want a tripartite dialogue over the Kashmir issue."
Leaders of the moderate faction of the Hurriyat, including its chief Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, also met the Pakistani foreign secretary. He was accompanied by Abdul Ghani Bhat, Aga Syed Hassan and Bilal Gani Lone.
"We briefed Bashir about the situation in Jammu and Kashmir and about the human rights violations," the Mirwaiz told IANS.
"We also asked him to include Kashmiris in the dialogue process with India and said the issue of Kashmir should top the agenda in his talks (with Rao)," he said.
Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) leader Yasin Malik had a separate meeting with Bashir.
The separatists' meetings the Pakistan diplomat comes against the backdrop of both Hurriyat factions refusing to talk to the Indian government.
Home Minister P. Chidambaram had invited the separatists for "quiet diplomacy", which had initially been accepted by the Mirwaiz but was opposed bitterly by Geelani.
The Mirwaiz has now backed out of the proposed talks alleging that New Delhi had not done enough to create an atmosphere conducive for a dialogue.
Bashir, along with a five-member delegation, arrived here Wednesday afternoon.