The chairman of the moderate faction of the Hurriyat, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, on Wednesday welcomed the resumption of dialogue between India and Pakistan and said that his party was ready for talks with New Delhi.
While speaking to the media, the Mirwaiz said that he was likely to meet the Pakistan national security adviser Sartaj Aziz.
“We have always said that dialogue is the solution to the Kashmir issue. It is a way forward and we have always supported talks between India and Pakistan,” he said.
The Mirwaiz said that the faction of Hurriyat led by him was willing to talk to the Narendra Modi government in case they were invited.
The Pakistan high commission has invited Kashmiri separatist leaders for consultations with Sartaj Aziz ahead of the national security adviser-level talks with India in New Delhi next week.
The Pakistan high commission extended the invitation to the separatist leaders, including chairmen of both factions of the Hurriyat Conference. Aziz will be on a two-day visit to India for talks with national security adviser Ajit Doval.
A similar meeting last year had led to the cancellation of foreign secretary-level talks with Pakistan.
Most separatist groups have accepted the invitation and will be calling on Aziz during the reception or in a one-on-one meeting later. While the moderate Hurriyat Conference tried to play down the issue, saying there is nothing new in meeting Pakistani officials as the invite is just for a reception, the hardline Hurriyat said its chief, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, had been called for consultations before the meeting. “We have been invited to a reception where a lot of people besides us will be present,” the Mirwaiz told Hindustan Times.
Geelani, however, is not likely to attend the reception. “Geelani will meet Aziz on August 24. Though we were given an option to come on August 23, he has an important meeting in Srinagar so he will travel to Delhi the next day,” Hurriyat spokesman Ayaz Akbar said.
“The date of the meeting is not important. It is the Pakistan government’s decision to apprise the separatist leadership that is important,” he added.