Pakistan decides to engage Kashmiri separatists: puts India on notice

14 July 2015

Sartaj AzizDays after Pakistan's prime minister Nawaz Sharif and India's prime minister Narendra Modi agreed at Ufa, Russia to work towards improving bilateral relations and give peace a chance, Pakistan decided to bury the five-point roadmap for bilateral engagement with India and instead engage its detractors, Pakistan-supported separatists in Jammu and Kashmir.

It is business as usual and in a characteristic somersault, Pakistan foreign secretary Sartaj Aziz on Monday virtually ruled out any concession on the 26 / 11 probe, stalled for over six years, with the usual comment that India needed to give more evidence.

The foreign minister's backtracking comes a day after the advocate of Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi, the alleged operational chief of the 26 / 11 terror attacks on Mumbai, has already gone on record as saying that Lakhvi won't be giving his voice samples to anyone.

To complicate matters further, Pakistan's high commissioner in India has invited Kashmiri separatists for an Eid party on 21 July, to provoke the Indian government.

The Pakistan high commission in New Delhi had held back its earlier invitation to the Kashmiri separatists days before the Ufa summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif.

Sartaj Aziz, who is prime minister Nawaz Sharif's advisor on security and foreign affairs, said his government will not compromise on the country's "dignity and honour". He also said there can't be any dialogue with India unless the Kashmir issue was on the agenda.

For India, the message is clear, say commentators. Pakistan wants India to take a call on the five-point Ufa roadmap and scrap it if New Delhi can, the same way it cancelled the foreign secretary-level talks last August on the same ground.

Foreign secretaries of the two countries had, at a rare joint media event in Ufa on 10 July, promised the following:

  • That NSAs of the two countries will meet in New Delhi to discuss all issues connected to terrorism;
  • Conduct meetings of DG BSF and DG Pakistan Rangers followed by that of DGMOs at an early date;
  • Release fishermen in each other's custody, along with their boats, within a period of 15 days;
  • Work out a mechanism for facilitating religious tourism;
  • Discuss ways and means to expedite the Mumbai case trial, including additional information like providing voice samples.

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