J-K Leaders Hail Invite to Pakistan PM for Modi’s Swearing-in
SRINAGAR: Cutting across party lines and ideologies, the mainstream leaders of J&K and moderate Hurriyat leaders on Wednesday welcomed the invitation to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for attending Narendra Modi’s oath-taking ceremony as Prime Minister on May 26.
“Excellent move by Narendra Modi to invite Saarc leaders, especially the Pakistan PM for his swearing-in ceremony,” J&K Chief Minister and ruling National Conference working president Omar Abdullah tweeted.
He hoped that this was the beginning of sustained talks between the two countries.
“At the same time I can’t help wonder what the BJP would have said if a PM designate Rahul Gandhi had done the same thing,” Omar added on Twitter.
Omar had given many strong anti-Modi statements during his party’s election campaign for the Lok Sabha polls in the state. His NC and ally Congress were routed in the elections, with the BJP winning three seats in Jammu and Ladakh and, the PDP winning all three seats in the Valley. PDP president and recently elected MP from Anantnag-Pulwama seat Mehbooba Mufti termed the invite to Sharif as a positive beginning.
“It is encouraging to see Modi reaching out to his neighbours at the very beginning of his tenure as the Prime Minister. He has actually sent out an encouraging signal that he is serious to follow the Atal Bihari Vajpayee initiatives of friendship towards Pakistan,” she said.
Expressing hope that the Pakistan PM would respond positively to the invite, Mehbooba said, “Jammu and Kashmir looks up with renewed hope to a new beginning on resolution of Kashmir. Sharif had already been part of a significant initiative on the Indo-Pak front, when he hosted Vajpayee in Lahore and should now respond positively to the Modi invite.”
“Pakistan and Kashmir have historically been the two major challenges that all PMs have faced and it augurs well that Modi has recognized the importance of Pakistan as a neighbour at the outset and had set the ball rolling for meaningful engagement,” she said. She added that this engagement should not remain confined to the inaugural ceremony, but must result in solid progress on the ground.
Chairman of the moderate faction of separatist conglomerate Hurriyat Conference, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said, “The invitation to Sharif is a good beginning and an encouraging message. The bonhomie should not remain confined to invitation for oath-taking ceremony only. Both countries need to take concrete measures to facilitate the resolution of Kashmir issue,” Mirwaiz said in Srinagar.