The Congress party said on Tuesday the meeting between Hurriyat Conference leaders with Pakistan envoy Abdul Basit was not in the interest of the nation, adding that India-Pakistan talks should be held for peace dialogue and not for encouraging separatism.
“It is because of such incidents that talks were cancelled last time. Pakistan encouraging the separatists is not in the interest of the nation. The talks should be held... they should held for peace and not to encourage separatism,” Congress leader Pramod Tiwari said.
A delegation of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) met Abdul Basit on Monday and discussed external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj’s recent meeting with Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif during the Heart of Asia summit in Islamabad.
According to an APHC release, Hurriyat leaders also discussed “Kashmir policy” with Basit.
BJP alliance partner in Maharashtra Shiv Sena, however, backed the Centre and said the meeting between the Pakistan high commissioner and Hurriyat leaders was concrete proof that ties between the two nations remained hostile.
“I just read Sushma’s statement where she is saying that nothing has changed on ground between India and Pakistan and it is true and the example of that happened yesterday. On our soil, in the national capital, under our noses, the Pakistan high commissioner is inviting people who want to wage a war on India and we are simply watching the show,” Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut told ANI.
“We have been watching this mutiny for 50 years and the way they have been rebelling against India in Delhi. Yes, I approve of talks between the two countries but the nation is pained which an incident as this happens,” Raut added.
Speaking in the Lok Sabha on Monday, Swaraj admitted that “nothing has changed on the ground” between India and Pakistan. The external affairs minister also said that while it was not possible to give the assurance of an “uninterruptible” dialogue, the government had no intention of being provoked by those who wanted to halt bilateral talks.
On Swaraj’s visit to Pakistan last week, it was announced that the foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan will meet next month to discuss the details of the comprehensive bilateral dialogue.
The discussions will involve peace and security, Jammu and Kashmir, Siachen, economic and commercial cooperation, counter-terrorism, humanitarian issues and religious tourism, according to a joint statement released by both nations.