Kashmir separatists invited to meet Aziz

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New Delhi, Aug 19: The Pakistani High Commission has invited Kashmiri separatist leaders to meet Pakistan's national security adviser Sartaz Aziz before he meets his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval, diplomats said on Wednesday. The separatists have accepted the invite.

Hardline Hurriyat Conference leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani will meet Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit, a Hurriyat leader said.

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"We accepted the invite from the Pakistan high commission," Ayaz Akbar, spokesperson for Geelani's Huriyat Conference, said over telephone from Srinagar.

"We have invited the separatist leaders in Kashmir for the reception for Sartaj Aziz," Aisha Ahsan, political counsellor at the Pakistan high commission, said, referring to the adviser to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on foreign affairs and national security.

The separatists will interact with Aziz before he meets his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval.

Both factions of the Hurriyat Conference headed by Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq respectively as well as other separatist leaders such as Yasin Malik and Naeem Khan have been invited to meet Basit on August 23.

"The Pakistan envoy wants us (Geelani and party leaders) to meet Sartaj Aziz before his talks with India," Akbar said.

Aziz is scheduled to reach New Delhi for talks with Doval on August 23.

Mirwaiz Farooq's spokesperson Shahid-Ul-Islam confirmed the invite and said: "We have been invited for the reception of Sartaj Aziz on the day of the NSA talks. But we are yet to take a decision."

The Mirwaiz told TimesNow: "This (invitation) should not be perceived as a negative development. Let this be a beginning (to resolve issues)."

In September 2014, India called off the foreign secretary level talks with Pakistan as Islamabad invited the separatist leaders for talks.

IANS

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