In Major Policy Shift, Govt Allows Hurriyat to Meet Pak Leaders

India maintains there is no room for third party involvement in the bilateral talks between India and Pakistan.

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Chairman of the Hurriyat Conference Mirwaiz Umar Farooq. (Photo: Reuters)

India has quietly done away with its controversial policy of not allowing Kashmiri separatist leaders to meet Pakistani officials, reports The Times of India.

This decision comes two years after the government imposed a strict policy which prevented Hurriyat leaders from meeting Pakistani leaders.

In a written statement to the Parliament, Minister of State of External Affairs General VK Singh said,

Since the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of the Union of India and these so-called Kashmiri ‘leaders’ are Indian citizens, there is no bar on their meetings with representatives of any country in India.
General VK Singh, Minister of External Affairs
General VK Singh (Photo: ANI)
General VK Singh (Photo: ANI)

A Long Road for the Hurriyat

However, Singh clarified that there is still no room for third party involvement in the bilateral talks between India and Pakistan.

Hurriyat leaders have been meeting Pakistani officials since the Agra Summit in 2001 without backlash from the government.

In August 2014, the Modi government cancelled a meeting between the Foreign Secretaries of the two countries on the premise that Hurriyat leaders had met the Pakistani High Commissioner earlier.

August 2015 saw the government talking extreme measures such as locking up Hurriyat leaders to prevent them coming to Delhi when India and Pakistan were debating the terms of reference for a meeting between the National Security Advisors after the Ufa understanding.

Hurriyat Leaders Attend Pakistan’s 2016 Independence Day Celebrations

The establishment of a quiet channel of communication between the NSAs of the two nations after the Bangkok meeting eased the situation somewhat.

The August 2016 Pakistan Independence day celebrations saw prominent Hurriyat leaders in attendance without any backlash from the ruling government.

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