India has officially informed Pakistan that it is not willing to permit Hurriyat Conference leaders to meet President Pervez Musharraf during his forthcoming visit to India.
The Indian reservations on the Hurriyat leaders' efforts to politically resurrect themselves by meeting Musharraf at New Delhi has been conveyed at the highest level in Islamabad during mutual consultations between the officials of the two countries to prepare ground work for the forthcoming summit meeting between Musharraf and Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, official sources said in Islamabad today.
The Indian stand to keep the Hurriyat leaders out of the broad parameters of the crucial summit assumed significance in light of yesterday's assertion by the Pakistani President that he would try his best to meet them during his stay in India.
Obviously, keeping the Indian reservations in mind, Musharraf during his interaction with senior editors of Pakistani newspapers said while he continued to make efforts to meet the Hurriyat leaders, it however, was not his endeavour to go for a confrontation with Indian leadership on the issue.
After Hurriyat leaders failed to pressure India to permit them to Islamabad for discussions with the Pakistan government as well as the Jihadi groups and caught unawares by the last month's move by India to invite Musharraf, they tried to regain the lost ground by announcing their intention to meet him in New Delhi.
Later, the Hurriyat leaders had modified their stand by seeking meeting with Musharraf and Vajpayee by sending similar letters to both the leaders. In response, Vajpayee has already reiterated his suggestion to the Hurriyat leaders to meet the Centre's interlocutor on Kashmir K C Pant.
Knowing the Indian stand on the issue, Pakistan mission in New Delhi tried to arrange a meeting in an `innocuous' way by proposing to invite the Hurriyat leaders to a "high tea", which the Pakistan mission planned to host on July 14. It has now been clarified here India has even turned down that suggestion stating it was not acceptable.
However, the issue of Hurriyat-Musharraf meeting was reportedly discussed prominently at the meeting between Pakistan Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar and one of Hurriyat leaders Mirwaiz Umer Farooq in Mali during the course of the ongoing OIC Foreign Ministers conference there.While it was officially confirmed here that the two had a two-hour meeting, the details of the same are not known.
Meanwhile, Pakistan High Commissioner to New Delhi Ashraf Jehangir Qazi has arrived in Islamabad for consultations with his Government ahead of the summit.