Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussain (R) administers the oath to Imran Khan (L) as Prime Minister of Pakistan in Islamabad, Pakistan. Cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan was sworn in as prime minister of Pakistan here on Saturday morning

Abdul Basit, a former High Commissioner of Pakistan in New Delhi, tweeted that he was “saddened” that the PM didn’t express solidarity with Kashmiris

The newly installed Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan skipping any reference to Kashmir in his maiden address to the nation after taking over reins of the country has upset the hardliners in Jammu and Kashmir as well as in Pakistan.

Imran Khan after being sworn in as Prime Minister on Saturday in his address to the nation did not touch the Kashmir issue and confined himself to the internal situation and worsening economic scenario of Pakistan.

Irked over the issue, Abdul Basit, a former High Commissioner of Pakistan in New Delhi, was the first to react by tweeting that he was “saddened” that the PM didn’t express solidarity with the people of Kashmir. Many among Basit’s followers on his Twitter account were quick to snub him for raking up the Kashmir issue in his every tweet and regretted that he never talked about real issues like water, energy, health, education and terrorism.

Basit during his stint in New Delhi repeatedly made controversial statements about Kashmir and was in regular touch with the anti-India Hurriyat leaders, including Syed Ali Shah Geelani. His reaction to Imran Khan’s address is being seen as the viewpoint of the hardliners in Pakistan.

During an earlier address after winning the elections, Imran Khan had last week expressed “solidarity” with Kashmiris but in his speech after becoming PM, he said that Pakistan was desirous of peace with its neighbouring countries as only peace was the key to development and prosperity.

The valley-based separatists had relished the earlier speech of Imran Khan but were apparently disappointed now as his address as PM was virtually the official policy of the new government.

Separatist Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said while extending his best wishes to Imran Khan, “hope that Mr Khan is instrumental in the resolution of our long-standing dispute & peace in the subcontinent”.

Keeping in view Pakistan’s continued hostility, residents of the border areas of Jammu and Kashmir are taking the peace slogan of Imran Khan with a pinch of salt unless he takes some concrete steps to check frequent unprovoked shelling in civilian areas by the Pakistan troops and their active support to terrorists to infiltrate into India.

The border residents recall the 10 years between 2003 and 2013 as the golden period during which not a single gunfire was exchanged on the international border and the Line of Control (LoC). The NDA government headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee and the UPA government led by Manmohan Singh ruled the country during the period.