Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif greeted his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi on Independence Day on Saturday, saying he hoped bilateral issues would be settled through dialogue even as cross-border firing by Pakistani troops injured two civilians in Jammu and Kashmir.
In a message of felicitation to Modi, Sharif greeted him and the people of India on Independence Day and said Pakistan wants to resolve all outstanding issues to usher in an era of cooperation.
“I would like to reiterate that promoting friendly, cooperative and good neighbourly relations between our two countries is in our mutual interest and also necessary for peace and prosperity in South Asia,” Sharif said in the message released by the Pakistani mission in Delhi.
"We in Pakistan sincerely hope to settle all our bilateral issues through a sustained and comprehensive dialogue and usher in a new era of mutual trust and cooperation.”
In a similar message to President Pranab Mukherjee, his Pakistani counterpart Mamnoon Hussain said Islamabad is “committed to promote friendly relations between the two countries for peace and prosperity in the region”.
He added that cooperative relations “will immensely benefit our two peoples”. On Friday, Modi had greeted Pakistan on its Independence Day.
In Jammu and Kashmir, two civilians were injured in cross-border firing by Pakistani troops in the Poonch sector of the Line of Control on Saturday, police said. Pakistan has been firing consistently in this area for the past six days.
A defence spokesperson said the firing by Pakistani forces began at 1am and continued for about three hours. Security had been tightened across the state for Independence Day. On its Independence Day on Friday, Pakistan had fired 82mm mortar shells at forward posts in Balakote, Sabjiyan and Shahpur areas of Poonch district.
There were four ceasefire violations in Poonch, Rajouri and Jammu districts since August 12. In July, there were 19 ceasefire violations in which four persons, including three security personnel, were killed and 14 others injured.
Pakistan violated the truce 192 times along the international border till July 26, the government recently told the Lok Sabha. Tensions between India and Pakistan have spiked following terror attacks in Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir and the firing along the border ahead of a crucial meeting of the National Security Advisors (NSAs).
Bilateral relations were also hit by Pakistan’s decision not to invite the speaker of the Jammu and Kashmir assembly speaker to a meeting of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association in Islamabad.
India has decided to boycott the meet to be held in Islamabad from September 30 to October 8. NSA Ajit Doval will meet his Pakistan counterpart Sartaz Aziz for talks on terrorism-related issues in Delhi on August 23.
Ahead of the talks, Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit said on Friday his country will not "abandon" the Kashmiris' "legitimate struggle for freedom".
He said it is necessary to settle the decades-old issue to have a normal relationship with India. Reacting sharply to Basit’s comments, India said, "The only struggle in Jammu and Kashmir is against Pakistani-sponsored terrorism. This will be the subject of the upcoming NSA-level talks.”