Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday invited India to engage in a "comprehensive, sustained and result-oriented" dialogue with Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir issue.
"I invite India for a comprehensive, sustained and result-oriented" dialogue for the resolution of the Kashmir issue, Sharif said while addressing a joint session of Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir's assembly.
Sharif stressed that the region will remain in the grip of "mistrust and tension" as long as the Kashmir dispute is not resolved in accordance with the aspirations of the Kashmiri people.
Rallies were organised across Pakistan by various political parties and extremist groups as the country marked "Kashmir Solidarity Day", observed by Pakistan on February 5 every year since 1990.
The Jamat-ud-Dawah, a front for banned terror group Lashkar-e-Tayiba, organised a number of protests in various cities including Lahore and Islamabad.
JuD chief Hafiz Saeed, wanted by India in connection with the Mumbai attacks case, addressed a rally in Lahore.
Since he assumed office last year, Sharif has spoken in favour of better ties with India. However, the killing of seven Indian soldiers and heavy exchange of fire along the Line of Control sent relations plummeting.
The prime minister, in his speech, expressed confidence that the Indian leadership "while realising the sensitivity of the issue" will reciprocate his invitation of dialogue in a positive manner and give the "right to self-determination" to the people of Kashmir.
Sharif said Pakistan has taken several concrete steps to reduce the hardships faced by the people living on both sides of the Line of Control.
The steps include the opening of the Line of Control to facilitate trade and movement of people.
These steps clearly reflect that Pakistan desires peace, he said.
The prime minister said the Kashmir dispute remains on the list of unfinished agenda of the United Nations.
Sharif was quoted by the state-run APP news agency as saying "a just and peaceful resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with the aspirations of the Kashmiris is a sine qua non for lasting peace in South Asia".
Image: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif