Islamabad: Unfazed by India's strong reservations, Pakistan today said it will go ahead with its engagement with Kashmiri separatist leaders when National Security Advisor Sartaj Aziz goes to New Delhi for talks with his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval on Sunday.
Even as India was considering various options in the wake of Pakistan High Commissioner's invite to separatist leaders, Islamabad maintained that consultations with them were a “routine matter” and a “long standing practice”.
Foreign Office Spokesperson Qazi Khalilullah said at a briefing here that Aziz will meet Hurriyat Conference leaders in New Delhi.
“Meeting with Kashmiri leaders and inviting them to various occasions that are hosted by our High Commissioner is a long standing practice... and meeting with Kashmiri leaders is common practice before consultations and talks between the two countries,” Khalilullah said.
“So it is in that context that Kashmiri leaders have been invited by our High Commissioner to attend a reception at the High Commission on 23rd of August. The reception is being hosted in the honour of our adviser and the members of his delegation,” he said.
Khalilullah hoped that India would allow the Kashmiri leaders to meet Aziz.The Foreign Office Spokesperson said Pakistan and India were in the process of finalising the agenda for the NSA-level talks in New Delhi on August 23.
“We will raise all issues with India including Kashmir during two days of talks of the National Security Advisers of the two countries,” he said.
In August last year, India had cancelled Foreign Secretary-level talks with Pakistan after its envoy invited separatist leaders for consultations ahead of the meeting in Islamabad.