Government to boycott Pakistan National Day celebrations at High Commission over Hurriyat invite

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India has decided not to attend Pakistans National Day celebrations at Pakistan High Commission in Delhi on Friday. According to a report in The Indian Express, the government decided against sending any representative to the High Commission due to Islamabads decision to invite Hurriyat leaders on the occasion. Therefore, the government will not be sending any official representative to the event, Pakistan celebrates its National Day on March 23 every year to mark the Lahore Resolution, also called Pakistan Resolution. However, the Pakistan High Commission in Delhi hosts the reception a day earlier. The resolution was passed on March 23 in 1940 which is considered a major milestone in the Muslims fight for an independent state. In the last five years, the government has registered its reservations on the Pakistan High Commission engaging with the Hurriyat leadership, but did not boycott the event. The government sent its representatives to attend the celebrations at the Pakistan High Commission despite the presence of Hurriyat leaders. In 2015, MoS for External Affairs VK Singh had attended the event. In 2016, the government deployed MoS for Environment Prakash Javadekar, MoS for External Affairs MJ Akbar in 2017 and MoS for Agriculture Gajendra Singh Shekhawat in 2018. The latest decision comes amid heightened tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbours following the Pulwama terror attack that was carried out by Pakistan-based terror group JuD of Masood Azhar. Sources told IE that Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshis call to Hurriyat leaders in February didnt go down well with Indian government. India had objected to Pakistan Minister calling up Hurriyat leaders including Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umer Farooq ahead of an event organised in London to mark the Islamabads solidarity with a Kashmir-related event. Notably, the government has withdrawn security of several separatist leaders including Geelani and Mirwaiz after the Pulwama incident. Also, they are under the NIA lens in connection with terror funding case.

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