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Srinagar, Mar 25 (UNI) Welcoming the appointment of an elected Prime Minister in Pakistan, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad expressed the hope that the return of democracy in the neighbouring country would usher in an atmosphere of peace and amity in the region.

In a statement, Mr Azad described Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani's taking oath as the head of the new government in Pakistan as a positive development for the growth of democracy there.

He said this would also end the uncertainty prevailing in Pakistan for the last one year which had also slowed down the dialogue process with India.

''With an elected government in place in Pakistan, I am hopeful that it will work towards consolidation of the peace process initiated by the two countries four years ago', Mr Azad said, adding that an atmosphere of peace and amity was in the best interests of the people of the region and the world at large.

He expressed optimism that the new government would build up on the positive change in the thinking of the leadership of Pakistan and let the ongoing phase of reconciliation and harmony in the sub- continent develop further.

''I hope Mr Gillani will reinforce India's efforts for promoting peace, friendship and trust in the region'', the Chief Minister said.

The UPA government headed by Dr Manmohan Singh, he recalled, was deeply committed to warm and cordial relationship with Pakistan and its initiatives during the past four years had facilitated closer people-to-people ties and improvement in bilateral relations.

Mr Azad said he was looking forward to an early resumption of the dialogue process between India and Pakistan.


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