Just three days after the Modi-Sharif talks in Ufa, the Pakistan high commission has invited Kashmiri separatist leaders to its mission in New Delhi on July 21 to celebrate Eid Milan at the end of holy month of Ramzan.
The move to invite the separatists was defended as "nothing unusual" by Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit who said Pakistan will continue extending its "full moral, political and diplomatic" support to the people of Jammu and Kashmir in their legitimate struggle for self-determination.
Asked whether he was conscious of the fact that his move to invite Hurriyat leaders might have a bearing on the proposed talks between the two countries, Basit told HT: "Why should it have any bearing? We have been inviting them every year."
The High Commissioner who was at the Ifatar party hosted by Congress President Sonia Gandhi here refused to field any questions about dissenting voices emanating from Islamabad following the joint statement at Ufa.
Earlier, the high commission had scheduled the dinner for July 4 but later it was postponed to July 21.
While Pakistani officials maintain that it was postponed due to some deaths in Karachi but the move was seen here by many as an attempt to avoid any bitterness ahead of talks between Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Nawaz Sharif in Russian city of Ufa.
In August last year, India had called off talks between foreign secretaries of the two countries, strongly objecting to consultations Pakistan high commissioner Abdul Basit had with the Kashmiri separatist leaders.
Modi and Sharif held a bilateral meeting three days back on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Russian city of Ufa in which they decided to revive the stalled dialogue process and quicken the Mumbai attack case trial.
However, in a turnaround, Pakistan on Monday asked for "more evidence and information" from India on the Mumbai attack case and asserted that talks cannot take place without Kashmir being on the agenda.
(With PTI inputs)