Pakistan foreign minister Khurshid Mahmood Kasuri has invited separatist leaders from Kashmir for talks during his upcoming visit to New Delhi, next week. Kasuri will arrive in New Delhi on 20th February to participate in the Indo-Pak Joint Commission Conference on Education, Environment, Science, and Technology, Tourism, Agriculture and Telecommunication.
The Foreign Ministers of both the countries will also exchange views on easing free visa policy besides setting up commission for the release of prisoners and other issues.
"Yes, we have received the invitation from Pakistan foreign minister", said a spokesperson of Syed Ali Geelani-led Hurriyat Conference. He said that Geelani would be meeting the Pak foreign minister on February 22.
Mirwaiz Ummer Farooq, chairman of moderate faction of Hurriyat Conference, Shabir Ahmad Shah, chief of Democratic Freedom Party (DFP) and JKLF chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik too have been invited for meeting by the Pak foreign minister.
They are meeting Kasuri separately on February 23. "Time has not been fixed as yet. But I have been invited for meeting on February 23", Shabir Shah said.
Sources said that Pak foreign ministers meetings with separatist leaders would be aimed at persuading them to forge unity and come up with a united stand on the issue of Kashmir.
"Pakistan wants a united voice from Kashmir. The different voices from separatist camp complicate things for it (Pakistani government) in negotiating a respectable solution for the issue of Kashmir with India", said a separatist leader. "India is the ultimate beneficiary of our dissent and division", he said adding, "Pakistan wants neutralise this advantage by bringing us together".
He however appeared little optimistic about the possibility of unity among separatist leaders. "The basic problem with us is that we have no agenda. Nobody knows who stands for what? If at all we have any agenda, it is personal and extremely varying", he said adding, "separatist leaders are also plagued with the problems of self-image and self-esteem. I don't think we would ever be able to get together".