Srinagar: Afghanistan’s envoy to India Tahir Qadiry on Wednesday said he was amazed by the hospitality of the people of Kashmir during his visit to the Valley. Qadiry is part of a Union government-facilitated trip of 25 foreign envoys to Jammu and Kashmir to help them have a first-hand assessment of the situation in the newly created union territory. “We Afghans claim that we are Mehman-Navaz (hospitable), but the Kashmiris are definitely so too. Interacted with a bunch of young people here. This girl is a gold-medalist in basketball with very high hopes. Wishing this beautiful valley & it’s people lots of good wishes,” Qadiry tweeted and shared pictures of his conversations with locals.
Qadiry, along with other envoys, arrived at the Srinagar airport around 11 am on Wednesday.
The group is visiting Baramulla, Srinagar and Jammu and would meet representatives of the civil society, including youth from different ethnic, religious and socio-economic communities, local businessmen and political leaders, the Ministry of External Affairs said.
The government had also taken a group of 15 envoys to Jammu and Kashmir last month with an aim to make them see the efforts to bring back normalcy in Kashmir Valley. A number of opposition parties called it a “guided tour”.
After announcing reorganisation of Jammu and Kashmir and withdrawal of its special powers in August last year, India imposed severe curbs including on movement of people as well as on mobile telephone and internet connectivity. The crackdown drew international criticism with several countries expressing concerns over the situation in Kashmir.
The Afghan envoy also tweeted pictures of the delegation enjoying a Shikara (boat) ride in the Day Lake.
“Upon our arrival, we enjoyed a #Shikara ride on Dal Lake in Srinagar, Kashmir. Beautiful lake and hospitable people. I bought a beautiful Kashmiri ring from a boat serving as a shop. @MEAIndia,” he said.
With information about the engagements of envoys not coming forth from official quarters, the scribes used Qadiry’s handle to gather information for their reports.
“In our interaction with the Kashmiri media outlets, the media people seriously urged the govt to restore the internet broadband as it is causing them so much problems to report and broadcast,” Qadiry tweeted about the delegation’s interaction with a group of journalists.
“We (foreign envoys) are interacting with the traders, businesswomen & entrepreneurs in Srinagar about the status of business & tourism in J&K on the sideline of our tour to this beautiful valley,” he said in a series of tweets about meetings with locals.
“J&K produces 80 percent of India’s Apple, according to a participant. So much potential for investments. A Kashmiri businessman urges the envoys to encourage their countries to partner with them,” he added.