PM invite to Sharif a "hasty" step: BJP, Kashmir parties welcome move
New Delhi/Srinagar: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's invite to PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif to visit India after his party's win in Pakistan's parliamentary polls drew a mixed response today with BJP saying he is in "haste" and mainstream parties in Jammu and Kashmir welcoming the move.
The opposition BJP was of the view that the prime minister should have waited and first assessed any positive change in Pakistan's attitude towards India.
The Prime Minister's move, however, got the backing of ruling National Conference and opposition PDP in J&K.
Union Minister and NC leader Farooq Abdullah said the invitation extended by the prime minister was a "welcome and bold step" while PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said it offered a great opportunity for the leadership of India and Pakistan to "chart a new course" in bilateral relations.
"The Prime Minister has been in too much of a haste to invite Mr Nawaz Sharif. Infact, we should have waited to see what changes come about in Pakistan's attitude towards India and if there were some positive signs, surely he would have invited him," BJP Vice President Balbir Punj said.
The BJP leader said it was too early to invite Sharif as he was yet to take over as the Prime Minister in Pakistan.
"But it is too early and infact it doesn't make much sense to invite him even before he had been sworn in," Punj said.
The party had yesterday hailed the democratic transition in neighbouring Pakistan and had expressed hope that the new regime there would strengthen the process of improving ties with India.
Farooq Abdullah hailed the invitation by Singh, saying that such initiatives would help the two countries come together and resolve all outstanding issues, including Kashmir.
"The invitation extended by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Sharif is a welcome and bold step.
"Such confidence-building measures will bring the two countries together and hold the key to resolution of issues between the two (neighbours)," the Union minister for New and Renewable Energy minister said in a statement in Srinagar.
Mehbooba while welcoming the prime minister's latest move to revive the peace process with the newly-elected government in Pakistan, said it offers a great opportunity for the leadership of both countries to "chart a new course" in bilateral relations.