‘UN Deplores Loss Of Lives In Kashmir’

Islamabad: Pakistan on Friday said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has deplored the loss of lives in the Kashmir unrest and offered his good offices to facilitate dialogue to resolve the Kashmir issue.

The Secretary-General made the remarks in response to a letter by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who had apprised him about the "grave situation in Kashmir where large-scale violations of human rights were being committed by Indian security forces", the Foreign Office (FO) said.

Ban called for avoidance of violence and once again offered his "good offices to facilitate dialogue for a negotiated settlement of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute", the FO said.

"The UN SG has, inter alia, deplored the loss of life and hoped that all efforts will be made to avoid further violence," it said.

Ban added the UN was convinced it is only through dialogue that the outstanding issues between Pakistan and India, including on Kashmir, can be addressed.

The UN human rights chief had earlier urged India and Pakistan to grant "full and unhindered" access to Kashmir given the recent allegations of human rights violations stating that without access "we can only fear the worst".

"I deeply regret that our requests for access have not been granted," the High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said in a statement on 17 August.

"Given the seriousness of the allegations of the use of excessive force, allegations of state sponsorship of violence, as well as the number of people killed and the very large number of people injured, the continuing unrest and the almost daily reports of violence in the region, it is unfortunate that our sincere attempts to independently assess the facts in relation to reports of human rights violations have failed," he said.

The UN rights chief said that he has been engaging with both Indian and Pakistani authorities since July for access for a team comprising independent observers to visit both Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan-adminstered-Kashmir.

The team would look into violations of international humanitarian law, through interviews with affected individuals including victims, witnesses, security forces, "given the conflicting and competing claims on both sides".

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