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Abdullah hopes for resumption of Indo-Pak dialogue

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Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah today hoped that the proposed visit of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to Pakistan will help in improving relations, lead to resumption of dialogue process and resolution of all outstanding issues 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,” he told reporters here after paying tributes to his father and National Conference founder Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah on his 110th birth anniversary.

Abdullah, 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.

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.