Pakistan envoy Abdul Basit meets Hurriyat leader Geelani, discusses Kashmir issue

Srinagar(dna): Jammu and Kashmir separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani on Monday met Pakistan High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit in New Delhi.

According to reports, Basit and Geelani discussed political developments in Jammu and Kashmir. During the meeting, the Pakistan envoy also appraised Geelani of Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar’s visit to Islamabad.

After his meeting with the Pakistani envoy, Geelani told ANI, “Pakistan High Commissioner came to me and had a discussion on Indian Foreign Secretary’s visit to Pakistan.”

He further added, “Prominent issue is that Jammu and Kashmir issue must be resolved by dialogue between India & Pakistan. Pakistan High Commissioner apprised me of discussions held during Indian Foreign Secretary’s visit to Pakistan. Around 150 dialogues between India and Pakistan have taken place, but none of them have come to a conclusion.”

This meeting comes two days after separatist leader Masarat Alam was released by the Jammu and Kashmir government. In August 2014, a meeting between Basit and Geelani had enraged the government, leading to the cancellation of Foreign Secretary-level talks between India and Pakistan.

Earlier in the day, Geelani said the accusations against Hurriyat hardliner Masarat Alam’s are untrue, and added that the latter’s release was not a big deal.

“The court has released Masarat. He has been out on bail several times. All the FIRs against him had been rejected by the court. So, his release is not a big deal. Also, the accusations against him are not true, I know him very well,” he said.

Geelani further said that India should accept the reality that Jammu and Kashmir was a disputed territory and not a part of the country.

“No matter which government comes to power no change will come in Jammu and Kashmir. This was a mere political stunt (Mufti’s praise of Hurriyat). India should accept the reality that Jammu and Kashmir is a disputed territory and is not a part of India,” he said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier in the day said the Central Government was neither informed nor consulted about Alam’s release.

“I assure the nation that there is no compromise on the unity of the nation,” PMO’s twitter handle quoted Prime Minister Modi as telling the Lok Sabha.

Seeking to pacify the opposition, Prime Minister Modi said, “this expression of anger over Alam’s release does not belong to any political party, but to the entire nation and the entire House.”

“This Aakrosh is not about any party or this bench or that bench. It is about the Nation,” the PMO’s twitter handle added.

Alam was released from Baramulla prison following the new Jammu and Kashmir government’s policy to free political prisoners who do not face criminal charges.

Alam is the chairman of Muslim League, a constituent of hard-line Hurriyat Conference led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani and is widely seen as the latter’s successor.

He had been convicted for organizing anti-India protests resulting in the death of 112 people in stone pelting across the Valley in 2010.