Pakistan has sought UN’s mediation in Kashmir dispute, India has opposed it, says UN secy-gen


UNITED NATIONS: United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said that the body was following the Kashmir situation “very closely”.

“Obviously this [Kashmir] is a situation that we continue to follow and follow very closely,” Guterres’ said in a statement released by his spokesperson Stephane Dujarric, a few days after at least 17 people were killed by the Indian army in held Kashmir in a fresh wave of violence.

“The secretary-general has expressed and will continue to express his concern at the situation [in Kashmir],” Dujarric said. “I think we spoke about it earlier in the week, reminding all parties of the need to protect civilians.”

Talking to the media during a routine briefing, Dujarric assured that the “good offices of the UN are available” for both countries to reach a peaceful solution to the dispute. He added that while Pakistan has continuously sought UN’s good offices to resolve the decades-old dispute, India has opposed the body’s mediation.

The statement pointed out that concerned parties must be willing to solve the issue in order to avail UN assistance.

Dujarric also clarified that the option was not exclusively for India and Pakistan, but for every nation involved in a dispute.

Three Indian soldiers and 13 suspected militants died on Sunday in several clashes south of Srinagar, the main city of the region. Besides, four civilians were also killed and dozens injured when police opened fire on thousands of demonstrators who poured onto the streets, throwing stones and chanting slogans against the Indian rule.

The violent clashes in Kashmir sparked protests in several areas of Pakistan as well.

During a press briefing on Thursday, Pakistan’s Foreign Office Spokesman Dr Mohammad Faisal expressed solidarity with the people of Kashmir. Dr Faisal had remarked that India is trying to crush the struggle of people in Indian occupied Kashmir.

Pakistan is willing to bear all expenses for the treatment of people injured in occupied Kashmir, he had added.

In a statement earlier this week, Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa had condemned Indian atrocities.

“Indian atrocities in occupied Kashmir can never suppress a just indigenous political struggle for self-determination,” the army chief was quoted as saying in a tweet by Inter-Services Public Relations Director General (ISPR DG) Major General Asif Ghafoor.