Jammu: Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) patron Mufti Muhammad Sayeed Saturday welcomed as "gigantic step" the initiative of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to reach out to his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif and resuming the foreign secretary-level talks.
The prime minister`s initiative talking to Nawaz Sharif is a gigantic step to set a new agenda for reconciliation and resolution between the two countries, he said, in a statement issued here.
"The SAARC formatting of the initiative was a very constructive approach which could augur well for realizing the economic potential of the South Asian region.
"The initiatives taken by the prime minister on his swearing in by inviting the SAARC leaders including Sharif had set the right tone for India`s leadership role in the region, but the calling off of the secretary level talks soon after had blunted its potential," he said.
"The resumption of talks and the prime minister`s telephonic conversation with Mr Sharif has come as a major intervention to revive the stalled peace process between our country and Pakistan," said Sayeed, terming friendship between India and Pakistan of prime importance for releasing the creative energies from decades-long atmosphere of hostility of which Jammu and Kashmir has been the main victim.
"Jammu and Kashmir has borne the brunt of wars, militancy and a destabilized political situation as a result of the conflict between the two countries and it is a good omen that the prime minister has taken up the bold initiative at a crucial stage of the state`s history.
"Economic progress in Jammu and Kashmir can generate a political dividend and emotional satisfaction only in an atmosphere of peace which can be anchored in the overall framework of India-Pakistan amity," he said.
Sayeed said his PDP has always placed great trust in the potentialities of SAARC not just on economic front, "but we look up to it as prospective boon for a strategically located state like ours which, unfortunately, has remained a bone of contention and continues to suffer from absence of a stable and peaceful atmosphere".
"Violence along borders since has resulted in casualties and it causes pain whether the victims are from our defense forces, or civilians on both sides of it," he said, adding he hoped Modi`s new initiative "would lead to sustained and uninterruptable dialogue with Pakistan which would realize peace and stability in the region".
"Such a peaceful atmosphere would allow the people of Jammu and Kashmir to reap fully the benefits of democratic system in which they have repeatedly invested their faith without adequate response so far in terms of solving their problems."
The PDP, which is holding informal talks with the Bharatiya Janata Party on government formation in the state after the state poll threw up a fractured mandate, has been pressing for resumption of India-Pakistan dialogue process.