India

Kasmiri Leaders Hope Cricket Diplomacy Will Bring Peace

BeyondHeadlines Special Correspondent

Srinagar: Cutting across the party and ideological lines, the separatist and mainstream politicians are pinning hope that the cricket diplomacy between India and Pakistan would auger well for strife-torn Jammu and Kashmir.

Leading the charge is former moderate Hurriyat Conference chairman Abdul Gani Bhat, who believes that any interaction at highest level is extremely likely to bring results in terms of restarting the process.

“Cricket match is a means to end. Let the end be noble and both parties rise to the occasion. I have never lost hope and this time too I am optimistic”, Bhat, who is an avid cricket buff, told DNA.

Echoing the sentiment, chief minister Omar Abdullah said all right-thinking people would appreciate the initiative taken by the prime minister Manmohan Singh.

“I think that all right thinking people would welcome and appreciate the initiative of the prime minister to normalize the relations in spite of all the hurdles. Though we should not expect any instant breakthrough, but it will put the process back on the track”, Omar told DNA.

Omar’s arch rival and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said though the step is small in nature, it could act as a catalyst to improve the relations between two countries leading to a formal dialogue at highest level

“This step will help in breaking the ice and to resume the dialogue process which had been stalled since 2008 after some unfortunate events. People of Jammu and Kashmir were hopeful that this development would have a positive impact on the situation in the state”, she said.

Mehbooba recalled 2003 cricket match between India and Pakistan at Lahore saying a large number of people from India had gone to watch that match which had helped in opening channel of communication between civil societies of both the countries.

“Any confrontation between the two countries are not in the interest of the people of sub-continent in general and J&K in particular. Indo-Pak cooperation was the key to resolving the region’s problems so both the countries have to show maturity in the interest of the people”, Mehbooba said.

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