SRINAGAR, July 28: National Conference president Farooq Abdullah today said the Centre should reciprocate “positively” to the peace offer from Imran Khan, who is likely to be the new Pakistan Prime Minister, following his party’s victory in elections.
Addressing gatherings in Qazigund and Bijbehara in Anantnag district of South Kashmir, Abdullah welcomed the message of reconciliation and engagement from Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairman Imran Khan, saying “the Central Government should reciprocate positively and without wasting any time”.
A sustained Indo-Pak friendship was imperative for peace in the sub-continent and would also go a long way in the resolution of the Kashmir issue, Abdullah, who is the Lok Sabha member from Srinagar, said.
“The people of Kashmir have suffered far too long and far too much due to hostility between the two neighbours. The time now has come to tread a new path of mutual cooperation, peace and friendship so that both the countries could reap the dividends of peace and progress,” he said.
The common challenges of poverty, lack of education, inadequate healthcare and violence need to be tackled in an atmosphere of trust and friendship between the two countries, Abdullah added.
The NC leader said Imran Khan’s remarks deserved appreciation and were a welcome indication of a yearning for peace in Pakistan.
“We hope that the new Government in Pakistan takes concrete steps to peacefully address all outstanding issues with the Central Government, including that of Kashmir. Both India and Pakistan owe the people of Kashmir a sense of responsibility to find a solution to this impasse and we hope and pray that the future holds the key for an end to our sufferings,” he said.