Separatists Geelani, Shah put under house arrest as Pak refuses to budge
Kashmiri separatist leaders Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Shabir Shah were on Friday put under house arrest after the Pakistan government clearly ignored India's warning to cancel a meeting between its NSA Sartaj Aziz and the Hurriyat faction leaders ahead of the crucial talks between the two sides on August 23.
New Delhi: Kashmiri separatist leaders Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Shabir Shah were on Friday put under house arrest after the Pakistan government clearly ignored India's warning to cancel a meeting between its NSA Sartaj Aziz and the Hurriyat faction leaders ahead of the crucial talks between the two sides on August 23.
The move came shortly after the Pakistan government sources said that Islamabad will not accept any 'pre-condition' ahead of the crucial talks between its NSA Sartaj Aziz and his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval.
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaj Sharif also this morning conducted a meeting with his council of ministers, Army and the ISI chiefs over the issue.
During the meeting, it was reported, the Pakistan Army chief, ISI officials and other Pakistani leaders pressed for a meeting between Aziz and the separatist leaders, saying ''all stakeholders must be consulted ahead of the crucial NSA level talks''.
We will not take ''dictation" from India. The talks cannot be based on conditional diplomacy, Pakistan government sources were quoted as saying by the national media.
The meeting was held in the backdrop of warning from India that Pakistan should not go ahead with the meeting of its NSA Sartaz Aziz with Hurriyat representatives when he comes here to hold talks with his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval, saying it will not be "appropriate".
In a clear message to the Pakistan High Commission, which has invited hardline Kashmir separatist leaders Syed Ali Shah Geelani and others, India said such a meeting would not be in keeping with the spirit and intent of the understanding reached at Ufa, Russia to jointly work to combat terrorism.
"India has advised Pakistan yesterday that it would not be appropriate for Sartaz Aziz to meet with Hurriyat representatives in India," spokesperson in the external affairs ministry Vikas Swarup said in a tweet.
The MEA spokesperson tweeted that India has sought confirmation of its proposed agenda for the NSA-level talks that was conveyed to the Pakistani side on August 18.
The two NSAs are scheduled to meet in New Delhi for talks on terrorism-related issues for the first time on August 23, as decided in a meeting between Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Nawaz Sharif last month in Ufa in Russia.
The Modi government had called off foreign secretary talks last August on the pretext that the Pakistanis had "consulted" with the separatist group before the talks. This time, Pakistan, which is trying its best to get India to call off the talks, invited the Hurriyat to meet Aziz before the talks, knowing it would be breaching a red line drawn by this government.