India hits out at Pak minister’s call with Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq
India reacted strongly on Tuesday to Pakistan’s outreach to Hurriyat Conference leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq in an attempt to highlight the Kashmir issue, with people familiar with developments saying this reflected the “duplicity” of the Pakistani leadership.
Foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi spoke with Farooq, chairman of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference over phone, and briefed him on Islamabad’s efforts to highlight alleged human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir, according to a statement from Pakistan’s foreign ministry.
This was the first time the Pakistan government reached out to the Hurriyat after Prime Minister Imran Khan assumed office last year. Mirwaiz said Qureshi was disappointed that despite Khan trying to “reach out sincerely” to his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, the “government of India did not respond”.
Within hours, the Indian government reacted strongly, with the people cited above saying the approach reflected apparent divisions within the Pakistan government, as Khan was talking of better relations with India while Qureshi, perceived as being closer to the military establishment, was raking up contentious issues.
“Such an attempt by the Pakistan foreign minister is a regressive step and is contrary to the overall perception which the Pakistani leadership is trying to create. It reflects duplicity in the Pakistani leadership’s approach,” said a person who didn’t want to be named as he isn’t allowed to speak to the media.
“The persecution and discrimination of different ethnic populations, including Pashtuns, Baloch, Ahmediyas, Hindus and Sikhs in Pakistan needs to end,” the person quoted above said.