MIRPUR/MUZAFFARABAD - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif Thursday reaffirmed on the soil of Azad Jammu and Kashmir that Pakistan wanted resolution of the core issue of Kashmir through composite dialogue.

The prime minister said the unprovoked firing on the Line of Control (LoC) by the Indian forces had harmed the confidence-building measures between the two countries. He asserted the security forces of Pakistan had effectively responded to the unprovoked firing from the Indian side.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif expressed these views while addressing a meeting of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Council, upper house of the AJK Parliament, in Muzaffarabad on Thursday.

He regretted that India had cancelled foreign secretary-level talks without any reason. The prime minister reaffirmed Pakistan’s unequivocal political, moral and diplomatic support to the Kashmiri people in attaining their legitimate right to self-determination in the light of the United Nations resolutions.

Nawaz Sharif kept on saying his government was proactively highlighting the issue of Kashmir at every forum. He said he had raised the issue at the United Nations (UN) General Assembly meeting in last September. He expressed his concern over the silence of the United Nations and international community and urged them to take initiative to resolve the issue according to the UN Security Council’s resolutions and aspirations of Kashmiris.

He lamented that India always exhibited its traditional stubbornness over the Kashmir issue. He refuted the Indian claim that the struggle of Kashmiris for their right to self-determination was terrorism. The prime minister said economic prosperity in the region could not be achieved without peace. He stressed the need to promote confidence-building measures between the two countries to move forward to resolve all the issues.

He said 12 new power projects, including Neelum-Jhelum Hydropower, were underway which would open a new era of economic progress and prosperity in the country after completion. He said Pakistan had prepared a long-term roadmap for the development of agriculture and tourism in Azad Kashmir.

The prime minister distributed cheques of compensation worth Rs one million each among 37 families of those who had lost their lives during the recent rains and floods in Azad Kashmir. Nawaz Sharif also met with the affected families and expressed sympathy with them.

Meanwhile, a delegation of PML-N Azad Kashmir, led by President Raja Farooq Haider Khan, called on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and discussed with him the development projects being carried out in Azad Kashmir and the latest situation in Occupied Kashmir.

Earlier, the prime minister was given a detailed briefing by the AJK chief secretary on the development projects. He said a detailed survey of the damages caused by the recent rains and floods had been completed. He said 28,000 houses had been badly damaged while Muzaffarabad, Rawlakot and Bagh were among the worst affected areas.

Nawaz Sharif was informed that the central working party had accorded approval to the Mangla raising project.

PM Sharif eulogized the Pakistan Army for his effective response to unprovoked Indian shelling from across the line of control. The prime minister also paid rich tributes to the Pak armed forces for rooting out the menace of terrorism from the country.

Earlier, Nawaz Sharif, on his arrival, was received by the AJK president, the prime minister and ministers of the cabinet.

Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif said, was rendering great sacrifices in the war on terrorism. He asserted the policies of the PML-N government were gaining acceptance at the international level.