SRI NAGAR: Even though Pakistani channels have been banned in Kashmir, people here watched the election-related developments on the Internet, while both mainstream and separatist leaders welcomed the statement of Pakistani Prime Minister-elect and PTI chief Imran Khan that “Kashmir is the core issue between India and Pakistan and the two countries should resolve it through dialogue.”
Former Chief Minister and National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah re-tweeted many comments on Pakistani election results. Another former chief minister and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti expressed hope that the election in Pakistan would lead to a stable government in the country as a democratic Pakistan is in the best interests of its neighbourhood, especially India.
On Pakistani voters rejecting Hafiz Saeed and other extremists, she said, “It is heartening to know that the people of Pakistan have rejected extremist forces in the elections. That is the strength of democracy. One always gets to choose”.
Independent MLA from Khansahib in Budgam, Hakeem Mohammad Yaseen expressed optimism that the new government would work towards bringing peace in the region.
“We welcome the statement of PTI chief Imran Khan calling for resolution of Kashmir dispute through dialogue in view of huge human cost of this long-standing dispute, especially being borne by the people of Kashmir. Hope the two neighbors give real peace a chance,” moderate separatist leader and cleric Mirwaiz Umar Farooq tweeted.
Former Hurriyat Conference chairman Professor Abdul Gani Bhat termed Imran’s statement as a “positive start”.
India-Pakistan ties nose-dived in recent years with no bilateral talks taking place. The ties between the two neighbours became strained after the terror attacks by Pakistan-based groups in 2016.