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Kashmiri separatist leaders to go on to meet Pakistan envoy

By Ians English

Srinagar, Aug 18: Kashmiri separatist leaders on Monday said they would go on to meet the Pakistan high commissioner despite India calling off foreign secretary-level talks with Pakistan over the contentious issue of the invitation to them.

Criticizing the Indian government over cancelling of foreign secretary-level talks with Pakistan, senior separatist leaders Syed Ali Geelani and Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, who respectively head the hardline and moderate factions of the Hurriyat, said they will visit New Delhi Tuesday to meet Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit.

Speaking to media persons here, the Mirwaiz termed cancellation of talks as "a serious blow to the dialogue process between the two countries".

Shahid-ul-Islam, secretary of the Mirwaiz, said cancellation of the talks indicated the thinking process at the highest level in India.

A spokesman of Geelani said cancellation of the foreign secretary-level talks indicated the "political immaturity of the Indian government".

The spokesman said Geelani would leave for Delhi Tuesday to meet the Pakistan high commissioner.

Taking exception to Pakistan high commissioner's decision to invite Kashmiri separatist leaders for talks ahead of the Aug 25 foreign secretary-level talks, the Indian government told Pakistan that the scheduled visit of the Indian foreign secretary stood cancelled.


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