Days after Indian Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar's visit to Pakistan, its envoy Abdul Basit today met Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani in what is likely to be seen as provocation by Islamabad.
The two met for about 30 minutes this afternoon at Mr Geelani's residence in Delhi and discussed the foreign secretary's visit to Islamabad as well as the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, where a political row has erupted over the release of separatist Masarat Alam.
India had called off foreign secretary level talks in August last year over the Pakistani envoy's meetings with separatists.
Mr Jaishankar's visit to Islamabad last Tuesday, as part of a SAARC yatra at Prime Minister Narendra Modi's instance, was seen as a breakthrough after months of cold vibes. Mr Jaishankar and his Pakistani counterpart Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry had discussed ways to resume the stalled dialogue process, sources told NDTV.
Mr Jaishankar also called on Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and delivered a letter from PM Modi.
'I think, the objective of the meetings should be that some resolution must be sought on Kashmir. I reminded (Mr Basit) of the fact that the main issue is Kashmir and unless we come to a firm conclusion on this, circumstances won't improve," Mr Geelani said.
The Pakistani envoy's meeting with Mr Geelani took place in the middle of a huge controversy over the release of Masarat Alam, a hardliner separatist who was jailed for spearheading stone-throwing protests in Kashmir in 2010.
"I also lend my voice to the outrage on the release of the separatist... this is not one party's outrage, it is the nation's outrage," PM Modi said in the Lok Sabha, promising that there will be "no compromise on the integrity of the nation" or public safety and security.
Masarat Alam, 44, was released on Saturday from the Baramulla jail on the order of chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, whose Peoples Democratic Party or PDP has just formed government in Jammu and Kashmir in an alliance with ideological opposite, the BJP.
Get the latest election news, live updates and election schedule for Lok Sabha Elections 2019 on ndtv.com/elections. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram for updates from each of the 543 parliamentary seats for the 2019 Indian general elections.