Meeting with Geelani not an issue: Pak envoy Abdul Basit

Describing Hurriyat leadership as an "important stakeholder" in Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit on Wednesday said his recent meeting with Hurriyat hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani was not an issue.

Kolkata: Describing Hurriyat leadership as an "important stakeholder" in Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit on Wednesday said his recent meeting with Hurriyat hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani was not an issue.

"I am not aware of any Indian official reaction to my meeting. We have been meeting Hurriyat leaders for the last 20 years or so. This is not something new. We have not created a new precedent by meeting the Hurriyat leadership," Basit said at an interactive session organised by the Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Institute of Asian Studies.

"We feel that they are an important stakeholder in this. Jammu and Kashmir is not about territory, it is about people, their rights and determinations," the envoy said.

The Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) had criticised his recent meeting with Geelani, saying it is "an insult to India". They had also demanded Geelani's arrest.

Basit defended the meeting, saying it should be taken as a positive thing.

"Our meeting with them should be taken as a positive thing not as an issue because it has never been an issue. It should be taken in that spirit," he said.

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