Kashmir: Mixed response to Manmohan-Zardari meet
Srinagar: Mixed responses seem to be coming from the people of Kashmir ahead of the much-talked about meeting scheduled to take place between Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari in New Delhi on Sunday.
A few of the locals in Kashmir are not pleased over the meeting, saying the leaders of the two neighbouring nations do not care about the problems being faced by the people of their region.
"Kashmiris do not have any profit from the meeting. Meetings continue to take place and they carry on with it. They eat food together, but again go back. There should be some benefits for the Kashmiris, who are facing problems for the last so many years. I don't think there will any benefit from these talks," said Mir, a local here.
"Till date, they have had almost 50 discussions. They have lunch together. But no one thinks about the Kashmiris. I don't have any expectation," he added.
Another local here echoing similar sentiments said Kashmiris have a lot of expectations whenever talks take place between India and Pakistan.
"Every time whenever talks take place between India and Pakistan, Kashmiris have a lot of expectations. There is so much unemployment here. If the unemployment problem is solved and peace takes place, then the people will have a lot of employment opportunities. People would breathe a sigh of relief if the conditions improve," he said.
"We have been witnessing it for the last ten years, Vajpayee Sahab (former Indian prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee) had carried out a ''bus yatra'' to Lahore, but no positive results have come before us," he added.
Meanwhile, another local, Gulzar, said he expects the talks between the two neighbouring nations to be a positive one.
"I think for the last five to eight years they are talking about friendship. I expect it to be a positive result. They will do something good for the Kashmiris. I hope that the meeting brings the message of peace for us," he said.
Zardari, who arrived in New Delhi on Sunday afternoon for his daylong trip to Ajmer to pay obeisance at the shrine of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti, will be meeting Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh in Delhi.
It will be Zardari's first visit to India as Pakistan's President, and will provide a chance to promote bilateral ties between both sides.
According to media reports, the US bounty on Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Mohammad Hafiz Saeed is likely to figure in the talks between Zardari and Dr Singh, who will be meeting after almost three years.
The two leaders had last met on the sidelines of the SCO summit in Russia in 2009.
Though Zardari's visit is personal in nature, it is bound to have strong ramification on the relations between the two nations.
New Delhi had suspended the peace process between the two sides after the commando-style attacks in India's commercial capital Mumbai in 2008, by Pakistan-based militants which caused the death of 166 people.
Since then, officials from the two nations have met to improve ties, but have shied away from resuming the dialogue that included resolving key differences, including dispute over Jammu and Kashmir.
India and Pakistan, which have fought three wars since their independence from British rule in 1947, have been slowly trying to repair relations and agreed to resume formal peace talks broken off in the wake of the Mumbai attack in 2008.