India’s Muslims welcome Modi’s gesture to Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: India’s Prime Minister-designate Narendra Modi’s gesture of inviting Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to his swearing-in ceremony has raised hopes among the Indian Muslims.

According to media reports, Muslims in India, the nation’s largest minority, comprise 14 percent of its 1.2 billion people, and are the world’s third largest Muslim population after Indonesia and Pakistan.

“It’s a very good step by Modi. Although we can’t expect all the festering wounds to heal overnight, but yes let me concede a very positive start has been made. We now hope that the issues between the two would also be solved in the near future,” said Maulana Jalaluddin Umari, president, Jamat-e-Islami Hind.

SQR Ilyas, a member of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board said,”It’s a very happy start to a new innings. The step is likely to improve relations. It reminds us of Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s era when much headway was made in diplomacy with Pakistan.”

“Only communication can bridge the gap. The invite is a very good step, whatever the fear mongers may try to portray it as. Now, a healthy relationship should develop that promotes regional peace,” said Kamal Farooqi, a prominent Muslim voice and former chairman, Delhi Minorities Commission.

The incumbent chairman of the Delhi Minorities Commission, Safdar H Khan, too sees the development as a welcome change. “Both countries would benefit if good relations are maintained,” Khan told.

“We can only hope that our relations with Pakistan would improve, the gesture of extending an invite to the Pakistan prime minister should be appreciated,” said Mahmood Madani of Jamiat-Ulema-e-Hind.