No change in Pak policy on Hurriyat leaders: Envoy

New Delhi – There is no change in Pakistan’s policy towards Hurriyat leaders as they represent the voice of Kashmiris, Pakistani High Commissioner Abdul Basit said and hoped that the dialogue process will not be halted even if there were roadblocks, reported Indian Express on Sunday.

“Hurriyat represents aspirations of people of Kashmir.
As far as we are concerned, there is no change in our policy towards them,” Basit said in New Delhi.
He was asked whether Hurriyat leaders will be invited for dinner if there were talks between India and Pakistan here and if they happen to be in Delhi.

Angered by Pakistan’s consultations with Kashmiri separatists, India in August last year called off talks between foreign secretaries of the two countries.

Calling the resumption of dialogue process a signal of the beginning of a new phase in bilateral ties, the envoy said efforts must be made to remove negativity in Indo-Pak discourse.

On being asked if talks will continue if there was a terror attack in India, Basit said it’s in the interest for both the countries for the dialogue to sustain.

Basit maintained that Kashmir is the real issue, not Dawood and Hafiz’.

When asked if handing over underworld Dawood Ibrahim, who is believed to be in Pakistan and 26/11 Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed and Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi would be a game changer in the dialogue process, the Pakistan high commissioner said solving the Kashmir problem will be the biggest breakthrough in the peace process.

“The root cause of distrust between the two countries is Kashmir and not anything else.
Trust will automatically be built up if the issue is solved,” Basit said while adding that the two countries must now ensure that there are no hurdles in the dialogue.

“Unfortunately we lost an opportunity in the last two years.
Now we have entered a new phase.
Forces in Pakistan and in India don’t want our relations to improve but we cannot be a hostage to them,” the Pakistani diplomat said.

When questioned over the delay in the Mumbai attack trial, in an apparent reference to the Samjhauta Express attack in which many Pakistani nationals were killed, he said there are cases in India too that have go on for years.

“After the tension in Afghanistan, there have been many attacks in our country (Pakistan) too.
We understand the pain.
We should not be linked to terror attacks,” he said.

On the question whether India and Pakistan will resume cricketing ties within the next 15 days, Basit said Pakistan was always ready to play with India.
“It is now up to the Indian Government to decide.
We will be very happy if cricketing ties resume and this will lead to better relations between the two countries,” he added.

Basit said he hoped that the dialogue this time can be ‘end result oriented’ relatively than simply ‘talks’.

“It’s a constructive improvement, as our Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been saying all alongside that the two nations can settle the lengthy standing points via dialogues.Glad that lastly the method has begun.

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