Jammu, March 26 (IANS) Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti Saturday hailed as a “welcome step” Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s invite to Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to watch the India-Pakistan World Cup semi-final clash in Mohali on March 30.
“This is a welcome step but much more needs to be done because any confrontation between the two countries is not in the interest of the people of the sub-continent in general and Jammu and Kashmir in particular,” the main opposition party chief said in a statement here.
Mehbooba who was a witness to the historic moment when the then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajapyee had extended “hand of friendship to Pakistan” in Srinagar in April 2003, saw almost the glimpses of the same in a small measure in this gesture too.
Mehbooba exuded confidence that this gesture would help bring in positive change in the sub-continent.
“Though the step is small in nature, it could act as a catalyst to improve the relations between the two countries leading to a formal dialogue at the highest level,” she said and hoped that “this step would help in breaking the ice and to resume the dialogue process which had been stalled since 2008 after some unfortunate events”, in a reference to the terrorist assault on Mumbai in November 2008.
The terrorist attack was plotted and executed from Pakistani soil.
PDP is a strong advocate of friendly relations between the two countries from the day of its inception nearly 12 years ago.
Hoping that “this small gesture would give an impetus to the process of normalisation of bilateral ties between the two countries”, the PDP chief said that “people of Jammu and Kashmir are hopeful that this development would have a positive impact on the situation in the state”.
“Both the countries have to seize the present opportunity to further improve their relations,” she said.