New Delhi, April 23: Pakistan must respond positively to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "bold" decision to initiate dialogue process with Islamabad in order to create a conducive atmosphere between the two neighbours, Muslim leaders have conveyed to the Pakistani envoy here.
"Since Modi came to power he has taken a number of measures to reach out to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to give a push to the dialogue process that remained suspended for several years.
He did not miss any opportunity to remain in touch with the Pakistan government. It is incumbent on Pakistan to reciprocate his efforts to end the decades-long hostilities between the two nations," Muslim leaders conveyed to Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit and his colleague on Friday evening at the All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat's office.
The AIMMM is an umbrella body of the Indian Muslim organisations.
Representative of the Jamat Islam, Jamait Ahle Hadis and several social groups were present at the 75-minute meeting held in a cordial and friendly atmosphere.
Initiating the discussion, Mujtaba Farooq, secretary general of the Mushawarat, said that friendly and good neighbourly ties between India and Pakistan is essential for peace in the sub-continent. He said India and Pakistan are twins, separated at birth, and there is need to develop strong ties between the two nations.
"We should not allow some disgruntled elements to derail the peace process," Farooq added, and lauded the Pakistan prime minister for also taking steps to correct the course of ties.
At this point Basit said that despite the Pathankot terror act, the two countries have not abandoned the dialogue process.
Mushawarat chief Navid Hamid said that Prime Minister Modi's visit to Lahore on December 25 last year was a landmark trip and it showed how serious he is in pursuing peace with Pakistan. The Pakistani leadership "needs to strengthen forces of peace and rein in those who try to scuttle it by their inhuman acts", he said.
Extremism and terrorism are major threats to both nations and they should work together to eliminate it in all forms and manifestations, he added.
Hamid said that people of the two countries are for peace and every efforts should be made to promote it so as to usher in an era of prosperity in the South Asian region.
He said that "Indian Muslims have progressed in all fields and they have made huge contribution for promotion of Islamic ideology in its true perspective. This was admitted by noted Pakistani Islamic scholar late Dr Asrar Ahmed also".
The high commissioner also acknowledged the role of Muslims in nation building in India. He said that "India's secular and democratic system enabled them to achieve progress in various fields".
He also stated that Pakistan's minorities are also doing well in business and a good number of them are in government services, including foreign affairs and defence service. They have major say in decision making as a good number of seats are reserved in parliament for them, he added.
Sectarian and ideological conflict is a major threat to his country. Communal clashes are less as compared to attacks on various Islamic sects and groups, Basit stated.
Khawaja Shahid, Pro Vice chancellor of the Maulana Azad University, said that "Prime Minister Modi enjoys absolute majority in parliament and has shown a will to seek cooperation with Pakistan. It is the right time for the Pakistani leadership to reciprocate his efforts."