Geelani lauds Pakistan’s stand on Kashmir, reveals secret letter

By Aijaz Nazir

New Delhi: Two weeks after NSA-level talks between India and Pakistan derailed over the latter’s insistence on raising the Kashmir issue and meeting the separatist leadership, the Hurriyat’s hardline faction led by Syed Ali Geelani has lauded Islamabad for standing firm and calling off the talks.

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Geelani expressed his views in a confidential letter to Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, handed over by a three-member Hurriyat delegation to Pakistani High Commissioner Abdul Basit in New Delhi on September 2.

“Pakistan’s stand on the NSA-level talks is highly commendable… which advocates the aspirations of the oppressed Kashmiris. It has proved beneficial for the Kashmiris,” says the letter written in Urdu, a copy of which is with IANS.

Geelani said in the letter that Pakistan’s position on the NSA-level talks with India raised the profile of the Kashmir issue worldwide and strengthened its cause.

“Kashmir issue is not a territorial conflict between India and Pakistan but a struggle for the basic and fundamental right of 13 million Kashmiris,” he said, thanking Sharif for standing by the Kashmiris.

“Dear prime minister, we are grateful to you, Pakistan Army and the whole of Pakistan. We hope that the Islamic Republic of Pakistan will remain firm on its stand in future as well to support the Kashmir cause,” he wrote in the letter.

“If Pakistan remains true on its principled stand, then India will be answerable to the international community on its Kashmir policy and it will have to amend its rigid stand on the Kashmir issue,” he wrote.

India had refused to include the Kashmir issue in the National Security Advisor-level talks, scheduled to be held here on August 23, leading to Pakistan calling off the talks, agreed to in the July 10 meeting of Prime Ministers Sharif and Narendra Modi in Russia’s Ufa on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation meet.