APHC’s possible talks with Pakistan

WHENEVER the diplomats and leaders of Pakistan engage or try to engage with the leaders of Occupied Kashmir branch of All Parties Hurriyat Conference, it sends shivers down the spine of rulers in New Delhi. However, in a positive development, the Indian External Affairs Ministry said on Monday that there is no bar on the meetings of Kashmiri leaders with representatives of any country. One may expect that this clear shift in Indian policy will pave the way for APHC leaders to hold talks with Pakistan which in fact is the only voice pleading the rights of Kashmiris at international forums.
Hurriyat Conference (M) Chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and other Kashmiri leaders have also welcomed the Indian decision of allowing them to meet Pakistan, hoping India will not create any red lines on the matter. If one may look at the recent past, the Indian side has always opposed Pakistan’s direct talks with the APHC leadership. In 2014, it had even called off Foreign Secretary level talks with Islamabad in protest against Pakistani High Commissioner Abdul Basit’s meeting with Hurriyat leader Shabir Shah. In fact, meetings between the Hurriyat leadership and the High Commissioner of Pakistan in New Delhi are a longstanding practice and despite the cancellation of FS talks, Pakistan insisted to continue this practice. Pakistan had a firm position on the Kashmir dispute and wants its resolution in accordance with the UNSC resolutions and the aspirations of the Kashmiri people. It considers Kashmiri people as the main stakeholder in the dispute and, therefore, it keeps contacts with the APHC leaders in order to not only acquaint them with the steps that Islamabad is taking to forcefully raise the dispute at international level but also reaffirm their moral, political and diplomatic support to them in just solution of the dispute. As a primary party to the dispute, Pakistan has also long been insisting that the leadership of Jammu and Kashmir should be included in the dialogue process but Indian side is opposing the move. We, therefore, will urge the Indian leadership to recognize the Kashmiri leadership as a party in dispute and also involve them in the dialogue process for peaceful settlement of this longstanding dispute which will augur well for peace and stability of whole region.

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