What’s the use in continuing an effort to talk to Hurriyat leadership? India has its own development agenda in J&K with the democratically elected leaders, with the Peoples Democratic Party, the National Conference, BJP or Congress. India has fostered their own mechanism, one that has grown to have legitimacy in J&K. And that is the crux of it… legitimate authority. Whoever can establish it first, whether by force or right, will win the game.

Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India, Abdul Basit, claimed the Indian government does not object to his meetings with Hurriyat leaders. This statement betrays the opposite. If India did not mind, he wouldn’t have had to defend himself by saying, “Don’t try to make an issue out of a non-issue,” when asked about meeting with separatists. Meetings with Hurriyat leaders have earlier been the cause for India cancelling foreign secretary-level talks, and this time there has been some outrage in the Shiv Sena over the meeting. The Indian government however has not stated any displeasure yet, but that remains to be seen.

The Hurriyat had appealed to the people of Kashmir to boycott the 2014 J&K Legislative Assembly elections saying that India has been holding elections in the Valley at gunpoint. However, the voter’s turnout of more than 65% has not gone in favour of the separatists, the highest of 25 years and higher than normal voting percentages in other states of India. The Hurriyat and its leaders have been heavily criticised by the mainstream media for misleading the people of Kashmir and for not representing the true sentiments of the Kashmiri people. If this is the case, then what’s the use? The Hurriyat resistance without people on its side, without traction, can’t help themselves or Pakistan. India on the other hand, has created a strategic web of democratic legitimacy.

Pakistan will continue its longstanding practice of interacting with the Kashmiri leadership despite Indian bullying. From water to security, everything is at stake for Pakistan over the Kashmir issue, and India does not have even half as much to lose, except hurt its twice-as-big ego. We are grasping at straws. The problem is that these meetings will encourage covert Indian operations in Balochistan, Sindh, and KPK and terminate any India-Pakistan composite dialogues.