We have been invited for talks: Kashmir separatist leaders

New Delhi: Separatist leaders in Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday said the Pakistan envoy in New Delhi has invited them for talks with Pakistan National Advisor Sartaj Aziz before he holds talks with his Indian counterpart.

Both the factions of Huriyat Conference headed by Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and other separatist leaders such as Yasin Malik and Naeem Khan have been invited by Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit for talks on August 23.

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“We received the invite over phone on Tuesday evening. The Pakistan envoy wants us (Geelani and his party leaders) to meet Sartaj Aziz before talks with India,” Ayaz Akbar, spokesperson for Geelani’s Huriyat Conference, told IANS over phone on Wednesday.

Aziz is scheduled to fly here for talks with India’s National Security Advisor Ajit Doval on August 23.

Farooq’s spokesperson Shahid-Ul-Islam also confirmed the invite and said: “We have been invited for the reception of Sartaj Aziz on the day of NSA talks. But we are yet to take a decision.”

In September 2014, ahead of the Foreign Secretary Level talks between India and Pakistan, India had called it off as Pakistan had invited separatist leaders for talks.