Sushma Swaraj’s visit will help improve Indo-Pak ties: National Conference

New Delhi(PTI): National Conference on Saturday hoped that the proposed visit of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to Pakistan next week will help in improving relations, lead to resumption of dialogue process and resolution of all outstanding issues between the two countries.

Sushma Swaraj

National leaders Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar Abdullah, both former Chief Ministers of the state, welcomed the fact that Swaraj will be travelling to Pakistan, hoping that it will help reduce tensions between the two countries. “We hope that Sushma Swaraj’s visit to Pakistan will improve the relations between the two countries and also in carrying forward the dialogue process so that all issues between them can be resolved,” Farooq told reporters here after paying tributes to his father and party’s founder Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah on his 110th birth anniversary.

Farooq, who was commenting on media reports about Swaraj’s visit, also welcomed the meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif in Paris last week. “We do not know what they talked about but let us hope that they find some way of resolving this (Jammu and Kashmir) issue,” the NC leader said, addressing the party supporters at Sheikh’s mausoleum on the banks of Dal lake here.
Omar Abdullah said although Swaraj was visiting Pakistan for a conference on Afghanistan it should not be taken lightly given the circumstances in which it is happening.

“It is a good thing that Sushma Swaraj is going to Pakistan. Although this is not a bilateral visit… However, External Affairs Minister’s visit to Pakistan is not a small issue, especially in conditions where there is tension between the two countries. “Even if the visit is happening due to Afghanistan, we will be hopeful that the bilateral dialogue is also resumed,” Omar said.

“We hope that this visit will lead to improvement in situation (between India and Pakistan), the ceasefire (along the border and LoC) will be respected and the dialogue process will be resumed,” Omar told reporters here.
Farooq Abdullah addressed the party workers in Kashmiri, refusing a request by mediapersons to speak in English or Urdu. “This is our mother tongue and we should promote it,” he said to a loud applause from the party workers.

He reiterated his earlier statement that neither India nor Pakistan had the capability to annexe the territory of Jammu and Kashmir in each other’s control. “Both have atom (nuclear) bombs. Are we going to drop these bombs on each other and get wiped out?” he asked. Supporting the status quo, he said the two countries should grant greater autonomy to their respective regions of Kashmir and make the Line of Control irrelevant by allowing free travel and trade between the two sides of the state.