New Delhi: Probably for the first time in 20 years, Pakistan has not invited separatist leaders for a meeting with its visiting Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry in New Delhi.
Reacting on it, Ayaz Akbar, spokesman of hard-line Hurriyat Conference led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani, said: "You should ask them (why they have not invited us)."
"It is probably for the first time in 20 years that there is no invite for the Hurriyat to meet any Pakistani dignitary. Last time, I believe talks were cancelled on this issue only."
Diluting the snub, Akbar added that it does not matter whether they are invited for talks or not. "We are in principle not against talks. We never said that there should not be good relations between India and Pakistan. But we have always said Kashmir is the core dispute between the two countries and it should be solved according to the aspirations of its people," he said.
Meanwhile, moderate Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq watered down the issue, saying Pakistan Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry had arrived in Delhi to attend Heart to Asia Conference and not for a bilateral meet.
"This is not a composite dialogue. It is a separate conference. When there was any bilateral Indo-Pak dialogue we were invited. We welcome the foreign secretaries meeting and hope composite dialogue between the two countries will resume. Ultimately they have to involve Kashmiris in the process as well," Mirwaiz told DNA.
In 2015, Pakistan called off the National Security Advisor (NSA)-level talks after India raised objections to the proposed meeting of Sartaz Aziz with the separatists.
India and Pakistan on Tuesday held their first formal talks since the January 2 Pathankot terror attack with both sides indulging in some plain speak. New Delhi raised the issue of cross-border terror while Islamabad talked of the "core issue" of Kashmir and India's alleged involvement in Balochistan.