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Hope leaders of India and Pakistan create atmosphere for dialogue – Omar Abdullah

Referring to former PM Vajpayee’s statement that one can change a friend but not a neighbour, Abdullah expressed hope that both countries would create an atmosphere for dialogue.

omar abdullahKUPWARA: National Conference (NC) vice-president Omar Abdullah on Friday said he hoped leaders of India and Pakistan would create an atmosphere for dialogue and resolve mutual concerns and issues.

Abdullah, who is contesting the Lok Sabha election from north Kashmir’s Baramulla constituency, was responding to a question on Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar’s remarks on Pakistan.

“I do not want to get into what Aiyar has said. We do not talk to our neighbours because of their nuclear weapons, we have other neighbours who do not have nuclear weapons, but we try to keep good relations with them, be it Bangladesh, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, or Myanmar,” the NC leader told reporters here.

Referring to former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s statement in Parliament that one can change a friend but not a neighbour, Abdullah expressed hope that both countries would create an atmosphere for dialogue.

“There is a new government in place in Pakistan, and after the results on June 4 here, there will also be a new government here, whoever forms it. But it is our hope that leaders of both countries will create an atmosphere for dialogue and resolve our mutual concerns and issues,” he added.

On Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remarks to a news channel that corruption had been rooted out, Abdullah said, “Recently, the prime minister accused (businessmen) Adani and Ambani of sending black money in trucks (for Congress). So, if they have black money, then it is obvious that corruption has not ended.”

He alleged that Muslims were continuously being targeted during the poll campaign.

“Muslims are being targeted in every speech. Yesterday also, a BJP leader said this election is Modi versus Rahul and development versus jihad. You talk of jihad just to show that Muslims do not know anything other than jihad,” Abdullah said.

“Do we not want to participate in progress? Do our youth have no right to take part in the country’s progress? If the population of the country is 140 crores, 14 per cent of that is Muslims. Muslims also have the right to take part in development. Why are Muslims labelled with the tag of jihad,” the NC leader asked.

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