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Separatists from Kashmir today expressed surprise over India's decision to cancel the proposed Foreign Secretary-level talks with Pakistan saying it was "unfortunate" and would only ensure that the stand-off between the two countries continued.
Hurriyat Conference Chairman Mirwaiz Umer Farooq said that the decision was "very very unfortunate as we expected that the process of dialogue had opened and both the governments in India and Pakistan will work together for resolving the Kashmir issue".
The Mirwaiz said there was no harm in meeting of the separatist leadership with the Pakistan envoy. "We only convey our views and this is not the first time that such an exercise has been conducted.
"Such meetings had taken place during the tenure of Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh as Prime Ministers. So what is the hue and cry about this time?" he said.
JKLF Chief Yaseen Malik also expressed surprise over the decision of India and said "it is most unfortunate. After many years of chill, we expected some warmth in the relations between the two countries."
He also spoke about earlier meetings being held by the separatists with visiting Pakistani leaders and envoys ahead of any bilateral meeting between the two countries.
"For the last two decades, we have been meeting all visiting Pakistani dignitaries and High Commissioners. What is new in this? Does the government of India really want to find peace in the sub-continent or not, one wonders!" he said.
Democratic Freedom Party leader Shabir Shah, who met Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit today, said the decision to cancel the talks did not augur well for the sub-continent.
"We expected that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was willing to solve all issues including Kashmir. His move to invite Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for oath-taking ceremony, which was responded to with equal enthusiasm, was seen as a silver lining in the dark clouds over Kashmir...but this move of cancelling the talks will only contribute to confusion," he said.