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Hurriyat leader Geelani meets Pakistan envoy after talks called off

Hurriyat leader Geelani meets Pakistan envoy after talks called off

New Delhi: Hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani arrived to meet the Pakistan high commissioner here Tuesday, a day after India called off the foreign secretary level talks with Pakistan over the latter's envoy holding talks with Kashmiri separatists.

Geelani arrived to meet Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit.

Ahead of meeting the Pakistani high commissioner, Geelani termed the Narendra Modi government's decision to cancel the India-Pakistan Foreign Secretary level talks as unfortunate.

"We have been visiting Pakistan embassy several times to hold talks. The decision to cancel foreign secretary-level talks is undemocratic," Geelani said.

"The issue of Jammu and Kashmir is an international issue and it should be solved. As long as promises made to us are not fulfilled, this issue will remain unsolved," said Geelani.

Moderate Hurriyat faction leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said the Indian government has over-reacted.

"New Delhi over-reacted on the issue...There has to be a peaceful, political resolution to the Kashmir issue," Farooq told a news channel.

On Monday, the Modi government called off the Aug 25 foreign secretary-level talks with Pakistan terming as unacceptable "the continued efforts to interfere" in its internal affairs.

But the separatist leaders have decided to go ahead with their scheduled meeting with the Pakistan high commissioner in Delhi Tuesday.

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front leader Mohammad Yasin Malik are also scheduled to meet Basit.

Pakistan has described the decision to cancel the talks as a setback to its efforts to promote good neighbourly relations.

India had conveyed its decision to call off the talks following Basit's meeting with separatist Kashmiri leader Shabir Shah Monday.

Pakistan has said that it has been a "long standing practice" to meet Kashmiri separatist leaders ahead of bilateral talks in order to "facilitate meaningful discussions on the issue of Kashmir".

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