The Mirwaiz Umar Farooq-led Hurriyat Conference on Wednesday asked prime ministers of India and Pakistan to hold an icebreaker meeting on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistan’s PM Shehbaz Sharif will be in Samarkand for the September 15-16 summit in Uzbekistan.
The Hurriyat Conference said this was an opportunity for a thaw in relations between the two neighbours.
“As Indian and Pakistani prime ministers will be in Samarkand to participate in a two-day summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), it is an opportunity to break the ice in their relationship and talk to each other and move forward in resolving their differences including the settlement of the Kashmir conflict,” the separatist grouping said in a statement.
PM Modi is expected to hold bilateral meetings with the presidents of Uzbekistan, Russia and Iran on the margins of the summit but there has been no word from New Delhi on meeting PM Sharif. People familiar with the matter have, however, indicated that PM Modi’s schedule was packed.
Pakistan’s Foreign Office has ruled out a bilateral meeting between Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Shehbaz Sharif.
The two countries have not had any structured dialogue since the 2008 Mumbai attacks by Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba. Pakistan snapped virtually all ties and downgraded diplomatic relations after India scrapped the special status of Jammu and Kashmir in August 2019. India has maintained that the changes in Kashmir were an internal matter while linking any engagement with Pakistan to credible and sustained action against terror groups operating from Pakistani soil.
The Hurriyat Conference claimed that the situation on the ground was “volatile though appearing to be calm: due to extreme sway of power on people”. “It cannot be sustained for long. The Kashmir conflict has to be addressed and dialogue among stakeholders is the best bet to a peaceful resolution,” it said.
The conglomerate also sought the release of chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq who is under house detention since August 2019.
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