The Centre’ appointment of an interlocutor for Jammu and Kashmir is a “tactic to buy time under international pressures”, the Joint Resistance Leadership, comprising separatist leaders like Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik, said on Tuesday.

On October 23, the Centre had announced that former Intelligence Bureau Director Dineshwar Sharma will initiate dialogue with Kashmir’s elected representatives, political parties and residents.

On Tuesday, the separatist leaders said they always supported productive dialogue to resolve conflict in the state. They added that their only demand was all participants must acknowledge that “there is a dispute that has to be resolved”. “The government of India continuously refuses to accept this basic premise and the reality on the ground,” they said in a statement.

They said Sharma’s remarks that he was coming to the Valley with the government’s directive to “restore peace”, instead of addressing the dispute, limited the scope of any engagement and “makes it an exercise in futility”.

The Joint Resistance Leadership’s statement came after the leaders met at Geelani’s house in Hyderpora on Monday night.

They asked how the government could “address or engage with the Kashmiri people’s political will and aspiration of self-determination”, when it dismissed former Home Minister P Chidambaram’s statement on Kashmir’s demand for autonomy.

“Unless the Kashmir dispute is understood in its historical context and in the background of international commitments, lasting peace cannot be achieved in J&K or the subcontinent,” they added.