The decision of Prime Minister-elect Narendra Modi to invite Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to his swearing-in brought mainstream political parties as well as separatist groups in Jammu and Kashmir on the same page as they welcomed it and hoped it would mark a new beginning in Indo-Pak relations. “Excellent move by @narendramodi to invite SAARC leaders, especially Pak PM for his swearing in. Hope this is beginning of sustained talks,” Omar wrote on micro-blogging website Twitter.
Omar, whose party National Conference and its alliance partner Congress failed to win any seat in the state in the Lok Sabha elections, however, wondered how BJP would have reacted to a similar move by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had it been him who was the Prime Minister-designate. “At the same time, I can’t help wonder what BJP would have said if a PM-designate Rahul Gandhi had done the same thing,” Omar said.
President of state’s main opposition PDP Mehbooba Mufti termed the move as a “good omen” and said “it’s a pleasant surprise and quite unbelievable”. Mehbooba, who was elected to Lok Sabha from the Anantnag seat, said Modi would perhaps be the first Prime Minister ever to invite a Pakistani premier to his swearing-in ceremony. “It’s the confidence of the mandate that Modi has got which has given him this confidence that he can do certain things which no other Prime Minister could do”.
“It is encouraging to see Modi reaching out to our neighbours at the very beginning of his tenure as the Prime Minister. He has actually sent out an encouraging signal that he is serious about following (former PM) Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s initiatives of friendship towards Pakistan,” Mehbooba later said in a release. Separatist conglomerate Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umer Farooq expressed the hope that it would pave the way for a meaningful dialogue between India and Pakistan.
“Hurriyat Conference welcomes this gesture and it has been our stand that if India and Pakistan come closer and there is an increase in confidence, it is a good sign. Unless both the countries come closer, there will be no solution to Kashmir issue,” the Mirwaiz said.