Aziz, who arrived for a meeting of the Foreign Ministers of Asia and Europe, met the separatist groups separately at the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi. (Agencies)
Besides holding talks with the moderate faction led by Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, Aziz also had meetings with JKLF Chief Yaseen Malik and hardline Hurriyat Chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Dukhtaran-e-Millat founder Asiya Andrabi.
Government sources described Aziz's meetings with the separatists as "extremely unfortunate misuse of a multilateral forum for partisan ends". The meetings also drew sharp reaction from BJP which said government has committed a "diplomatic blunder" by allowing this.
Emerging from his hour-long meeting with Aziz, Mirwaiz said that the talks were aimed at finding a lasting political solution to the Kashmir issue, a key element for normalizing ties between India and Pakistan.
"We want to see that the relations between the two countries are good and this would be possible only after the Kashmir issue is settled in accordance with the wishes of the people of Jammu and Kashmir," Mirwaiz said.
To a question that the BJP had opposed their meeting with Aziz terming it as anti-national, the Hurriyat Chairman replied, "I wonder how is this anti-national. The meeting is aimed at findling a lasting solution to the Kashmir issue which is in the interest of India, Pakistan as well as people of Jammu and Kashmir."
BJP President Rajnath Singh said, "By allowing Sartaj Aziz to hold talks with Kashmiri separatists the UPA government has committed another diplomatic blunder with serious costs to national security and national interest.
Mirwaiz said that Hurriyat had been meeting with Pakistani leaders during the NDA regime under Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and his deputy LK Advani. "Sad to see them (BJP) terming this meeting as anti-India. In fact such talks must be encouarged," he said, adding, "we seek cooperation not confrontation" from BJP and other political parties.
Yasin Malik said any initiative with regard to peace and end to human suffering must be encouraged.
Aziz, who arrived for a meeting of the Foreign Ministers of Asia and Europe, met the separatist groups separately at the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi.