Srinagar, Aug 22: Separatist leader Shabbir Shah, who is adamant on meeting Pakistan’s NSA Sartaj Aziz, said they will not back out of the talks between India and Pakistan.
Speaking to media here on Saturday, Shah said: “We will meet Pakistan NSA Sartaj Aziz ji tomorrow at the Pakistan House in the evening,” adding “We have been going since 25 years to meet with Pakistan, be it, NDA government led by Atal ji or UPA.”
The separatist leader asserted that peaceful dialogue is the only way to resolve issues, adding: “If India doesn’t hold talks how will peace be established in South-Asia?”
“We will not back out. We will go to Delhi and meet them. It is important for us to go so that we can seek answers from Pakistan’s side also,” he added.
Meanwhile, India has described the invitation to Hurriyat representatives as a “provocative action” and accused Pakistan of trying to evade its commitment to engage in a substantive discussion on terrorism as had been agreed between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in Ufa (Russia) last month.
It said that Islamabad’s insistence on meeting Hurriyat leaders as a pre-condition was a complete departure from the Ufa understanding. Moreover, India has always held the position that there are only two, not three, stakeholders in the bilateral relationship.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Saturday called a press conference in Delhi, as suspense over holding of the Indo-Pak NSA-level talks continued after both sides hardened their positions on the issue of Kashmiri separatists.
According to reports, a day before his scheduled departure for Delhi, Pakistan National Security Advisor Sartaj Aziz too has called a media meet in Islamabad at 1 PM (local time). Swaraj will meet the press at 4 PM.
The Pakistan NSA is scheduled to hold discussions with his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval tomorrow and day after.
(With Agency Inputs)