In what is likely to put the scheduled India-Pakistan NSA level talks in jeopardy, Islamabad on Friday said that it will not accept any ‘pre-condition’ of cancelling the meeting between its NSA Sartaj Aziz and the Kashmiri separatist leaders.
According to media reports, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaj Sharif this morning conducted a meeting with his council of ministers, Army and ISI chief over the issue.
During the meeting, it was reported, the Pakistan Army chief, ISI officials and other Pakistani leaders pressed for a meeting between Aziz and the separatist leaders, saying ”all stakeholders must be consulted ahead of the crucial NSA level talks”.
“India has advised Pakistan yesterday that it would not be appropriate for Sartaz Aziz to meet with Hurriyat representatives in India,” spokesperson in the external affairs ministry Vikas Swarup said in a tweet.
The MEA spokesperson tweeted that India has sought confirmation of its proposed agenda for the NSA-level talks that was conveyed to the Pakistani side on August 18.
The two NSAs are scheduled to meet in New Delhi for talks on terrorism-related issues for the first time on August 23, as decided in a meeting between Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Nawaz Sharif last month in Ufa in Russia.
The Modi government had called off foreign secretary talks last August on the pretext that the Pakistanis had “consulted” with the separatist group before the talks. This time, Pakistan, which is trying its best to get India to call off the talks, invited the Hurriyat to meet Aziz before the talks, knowing it would be breaching a red line drawn by this government.