Kashmiri separatists meeting Pak leaders since NDA rule: Shinde
New Delhi: Government on Monday countered BJP`s criticism that it had committed a "diplomatic blunder" by allowing Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif`s advisor Sartaj Aziz to meet Kashmiri separatists on Indian soil, saying such meetings had taken place even during the NDA regime.
Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said Kashmiri separatist leaders have been meeting Pakistani leaders on Indian soil since the days of NDA when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the Prime Minister.
"They (Kashmiri separatists) have been meeting (Pakistani leaders) since 1999. When their Prime Minister came, then also they met. They met in October 2000 also. In 2001 also they met.
They again met in 2003 and in March 2004 also," he told reporters here.
He was responding to a question on BJP President Rajnath Singh`s criticism that UPA government had committed a "diplomatic blunder" by allowing Aziz to meet separatists on Indian soil and demanded that the talks be stopped.
"Even in their period also the Kashmiri separatists have met (Pakistani leaders). Precedent has been set," he said.
The Home Minister, however, said the government would see what could be done in the future in this regard.
Those who met Aziz at the Pakistan High Commission here include moderate faction of Hurriyat led by Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, JKLF Chief Yaseen Malik, hardline Hurriyat Chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani and leaders of Dukhtaran-e-Millat.
The Mirwaiz yesterday said that Hurriyat had been meeting with Pakistani leaders during the NDA regime under Vajpayee and his deputy LK Advani.
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