There has been mixed response to the recent remarks of Imran Khan about his future Kashmir policy in Kashmir Valley. Many youngsters have expressed optimism, though.
When this reporter talked to students at Moulana Azad Road of Srinagar, most of them said that Imran will prove to be a harbinger of hope for the people of Kashmir and this would help in ending the current spell of unrest and violence.
“We are Imran Khan’s fans since his cricket days. We think that if New Delhi responds positively to his offer of moving ahead, there would be peace,” said Razia and Rehana of Women’s College Srinagar.
“Though it is a welcome statement that he will try to solve the Kashmir dispute with New Delhi, history tells us that such statements do not materialise,” contended Prof Nasreen Akhtar of Women’s College, Srinagar.
On the streets of Srinagar, most people are not sure whether the relationship between India and Pakistan will ever normalise.
“They move forward two steps and then go back hundred steps. This has been the story of Indo-Pak relationship especially on Kashmir. We have no hopes,” rued Prof Arshid Hussain, supported by many of his colleagues.
Hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani has welcomed Imran Khan’s statement that Kashmir is the core issue between India and Pakistan and it should be resolved by dialogue. Moderate Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Moulvi Omar Farooq has also welcomed Khan’s Kashmir statement. Mirwaiz earlier emphasised in a tweet the urgent need for dialogue between India and Pakistan on Kashmir.
Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said that it was a welcome statement by Imran Khan that he will take two steps forward if India will take one step to end the Kashmir dispute. Mehbooba Mufti on Saturday during her party rally appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to respond to the offer of friendship made by Imran Khan.