NEW DELHI: Separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani in a surprise move has decided against attending an Eid Milan which is to be hosted by the Pakistan High Commission on July 21.
According to ZeeNews , Geelani rejected the invitation on the grounds that the Kashmir issue was "ignored" in the joint statement between India and Pakistan after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Indian premier Modi held their meeting on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit in Ufa, Russia on July 10.
The Times of India reported that the Hurriyat Conference leader, while speaking to IANS news agency said that he will register his protest by not attending the Eid Milan because the two leaders did not discuss Kashmir during their meeting in Ufa.
"As the two prime ministers ignored the fate of over 10 million people of Jammu and Kashmir in their meeting, we reject being a part of any of their [Pakistan's] celebration," Geelani told IANS over the phone from Srinagar.
"The Kashmir issue is question of life and death for us. Nobody can take us for granted. And I will not attend the Eid Milan in New Delhi to register a symbolic protest," he said.
Opposition parties in Pakistan expressed reservations after the Modi-Nawaz meeting, with the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) taking the lead to highlight that Kashmir was ignored.
Shireen Mazari expressed dismay at what she said was silence on the Kashmir issue and Indian involvement in Balochistan. “Modi raised Mumbai and Sharif agreed to ‘fast track’ the investigations. Not a word on Samjhota Express was uttered by PM Sharif,” she said earlier.
Last year, India had called off foreign secretary-level bilateral talks with Pakistan following criticism of Pakistani High Commissioner Abdul Basit meeting with Hurriyat leader Shabir Shah.
Pakistan had termed India's decision to call off foreign secretary level talks a setback to efforts by the Pakistani leadership to promote "good, neighbourly relations" with India.
Pakistan had also rejected India's reservation to Pakistani envoys meeting with Kashmiri leaders, as such meetings with Kashmiri leaders are held to facilitate meaningful discussions on the issue of Kashmir.