Pakistan Urges UN Help on Kashmir Tensions

Pakistan Urges UN Help on Kashmir Tensions Pakistan Urges UN Help on Kashmir Tensions

Pakistan has called on UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to intervene to help defuse tensions with India over Kashmir.  The UN has urged restraint after New Delhi carried out strikes inside the Pakistani-controlled region.

"This is a dangerous moment for the region," Pakistan's UN Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi told AFP after meeting with Ban at the UN headquarters in New York on Friday.

"The time has come for bold intervention by him if we are to avoid a crisis, because we can see a crisis building up."

Tensions between the two countries have been rising since the Indian government accused Pakistan-based militants of launching an assault on an army base in Kashmir earlier this month that killed 18 soldiers.

Lodhi accused India of creating "conditions that pose a threat to regional and international peace and security."

The UN chief "would welcome all proposals" or initiatives aimed at de-escalation, UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric said, adding that Ban is following the situation "with great concern".

A UN military observer mission (UNMOGIP) is looking into reports of ceasefire violations along the line of control and will report to Ban, he added.

"UNMOGIP has not directly observed any firing across the line of control related to the latest incident," he said.

Lodhi also met this week with the current Security Council president, New Zealand Ambassador Gerard van Bohemen, to ask that the top UN body keep a close eye on developments.

"This is a crisis between two nuclear neighbors. This is as dangerous as it gets," said Lodhi.

Pakistan on Friday also rejected India's claim to have sent troops across its disputed border in Kashmir to kill suspected militants. Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said India had fired unprovoked from its side of the heavily militarized frontier in the disputed region of Kashmir and killed two soldiers.

"The Cabinet joined the prime minister in completely rejecting the Indian claims of carrying out 'surgical strikes'," Sharif's office said in a statement issued after a Cabinet meeting on Friday.

The US State Department said Washington was watching the situation closely and urged "calm and restraint" by both sides, saying it did not want to see escalation by the two nuclear-armed countries.

"Nuclear-capable states have a clear responsibility to exercise restraint regarding nuclear weapons and missile capabilities," State Department Spokesman Mark Toner said.



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