Voicing hope that Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari's visit would mark the start of a “sustained” process to resolve all issues between India and Pakistan, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Sunday said it would be a “forward movement” if the Pakistani leader came to Jammu and Kashmir.
Mr. Abdullah said the fact that Pakistan had not harped on “Kashmir first” reflected the “maturity in our relations.” “Jammu and Kashmir issue has long threatened our relation. The fact that it has not been talked about that much does not mean it is not an important issue. But it hasn't hijacked the dialogue,” he told PTI.
Mr. Abdullah said though he had not expected too much from the visit, there “is now a possibility that we can have a sustained engagement process” with the ultimate aim of resolving all issues.
On Mr. Zardari visiting Kashmir, he said: “I think it is long overdue. I would like to be able to visit Mirpur and Muzaffarabad.”
Mr. Abdullah also recalled that Mr. Zardari had said, when they last met in Pakistan before he became President, that he would visit Kashmir when he came to India the next time. In a lighter vein, Mr. Abdullah said he had bet him a rupee that he would not be able to keep his word.
Earlier, Mr. Abdullah had tweeted: “Kashmir is off the menu today; no gushtabas :—,” referring to the lunch hosted by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for the Pakistani guests.