Calling off talks with Pak: NC & PDP express disappointment

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NC, PDP slam calling off talks with Pak
Srinagar, Aug 19: Both the ruling and Opposition party of Jammu and Kashmir, National Conference (NC) and People's Democratic Party (PDP) on Monday expressed dissatisfaction with New Delhi's decision to call off the secretary-level talks with Pakistan next week.

India on Monday cancelled the talks scheduled on August 25 after the Pakistani High Commissioner in India, Abdul Basit, invited the Kashmiri separatist leaders for talks on the problem.

Terming the decision to scrap the talks as "inappropriate", the NC said the separatists had also met Pakistani representatives in the past but questions over the process were only raised now.

"The separatists have often been meeting the Pakistan. They even go to Iftaar parties and Pakistan day. They have been meeting the Pak High Commissioner and the same was a routine," NC general secretary Ali Mohammad Sagar told KNS, a local news gathering agency in Kashmir.

Both parties said the govt reacted too sharply to a routine affair

Sagar said while the BJP was claiming to adopt the policy of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee vis-a-vis Kashmir, it was reluctant in the reality. He said separatists met former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf a number of times and also held meetings with Vajpayee over the Kashmir dispute. The NC said its stand is to support talks for they resolve issues amicably.

PDP president Mehbooba Mufti also expressed her disappointment over the development. She said the development cast a shadow on the hopes of reconciliation that was created by the invitation to Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Mufti said the meeting between the Pakistan high commissioner and the Hurriyat leaders is nothing new and said it is a flimsy ground for calling off the talks for resuming diplomatic talks with Pakistan.

She said the knee-jerk reaction to the routine events like the Pakistani high commission inviting the separatists was beyond comprehension for there is no other alternative to dialogue between the two states.

The leader said both the Congress and BJP create hurdles in the India-Pakistan reconciliation process when in the opposition.

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