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India, Pak back to sparring over Hurriyat

India and Pakistan were on Monday back to sparring over Kashmiri separatist Hurriyat leaders' confabulations with Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit, with New Delhi making it clear that there was no role for a third party. Basit, who has held meetings with Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and other separatist leaders and also invited them to the Pakistan National Day celebrations here, said that India was not against these interactions.

"I don't think Indian government is objecting. I would rather suggest my media friends not to make an issue out of a non-issue," Basit said on the sidelines of an event here to mark the Pakistan National Day. However, India hit out, saying "the Government of India prefers to speak for itself".

"Having repeated it on so many occasions there should be no scope for misunderstanding or misrepresenting India's position on the role of the so called Hurriyat. "Let me reiterate there are only two parties and there is no place for a third party in resolution of India-Pakistan issues," Spokesperson in the External Affairs Ministry Syed Akbaruddin said.

India had called off foreign secretary-level talks with Pakistan last year after Basit held consultations with Hurriyat leaders on the eve of the official talks. The MEA Spokesperson added that "the only way forward to proceed on all outstanding issues is a peaceful bilateral dialogue within the framework of Simla Agreement and Lahore Declaration." 

The Mirwaiz along with Abdul Gani Bhat, Maulana Abbas Ansari, Bilal Gani Lone, Aga Syed Hassan, Mussadiq Adil and Mukhtar Ahmad Waza had gone to Basit's residence on Sunday night for talks.

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