Pakistan is whipping up its provocative frenzy from across the border ahead of talks with India with its envoy inviting J&K's usual separatists, the Hurriyat Conference, for a meeting with their national security advisor, in a bid to shift the focus of the dialogue from terrorism to Kashmir.
The separatists will meet Pakistan's NSA Sartaj Aziz on 23 August, probably before Aziz sits down for talks with his Indian counterpart, Ajit Doval, to discuss cross-border terrorism and other issues on which prime ministers of the two countries have agreed to discuss in the Russian city of Ufa in July.
''Meetings between our leaders and the separatists are a long held practice. It is neither unprecedented nor unusual. I see no reason why you term it as provocative. We see it from a positive perspective. I have met Hurriyat leaders on many occasions, including on Pakistan National Day and at an Eid Milan hosted by me,'' Hindustan Times quoted the Pakistani high commissioner, Abdul Basit, as saying in an exclusive interview.
''It has been our principled position that the Hurriyat is the main representative of the Kashmiri people … We don't hide our meetings with the Hurriyat. We believe it's important to meet them because they are important stakeholders. It wasn't Pakistan which called off the talks,'' he said. ''There are many issues that need to be settled and resolved between India and Pakistan, and Kashmir is the main one.''
Both Hurriyat hawk Syed Ali Shah Geelani and its moderate face Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said they would meet Aziz and discuss the Kashmir issue.
"We will leave on Sunday for NSA Aziz's reception followed by dinner along with other Hurriyat leaders," Mirwaiz confirmed, shortly after the meeting of the Hurriyat executive on Wednesday.
New Delhi had cancelled the foreign secretary-level talks in August last year after the Pakistan high commissioner in New Delhi held consultations with Hurriyat members.