News / Asia

Pakistani PM Calls for Defusing Kashmir Tensions

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (L) speaks with Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif during a joint news conference at the Prime Minister's residence in Islamabad, August 14, 2013.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (L) speaks with Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif during a joint news conference at the Prime Minister's residence in Islamabad, August 14, 2013.
Ayaz Gul
Pakistan’s prime minister says Islamabad and New Delhi will have to “defuse tension and de-escalate the situation” in the disputed Kashmir region, following days of firing across the military line of control. Nawaz Sharif spoke to reporters after talks with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Sharif said that as part of Pakistan’s efforts to promote regional peace and stability, he wants to ease tensions with India and begin a dialogue to address bilateral issues, including the territorial dispute over Kashmir.

His remarks came as the Pakistani military on Wednesday accused Indian troops of launching a fresh round of shelling along the disputed Kashmir border, called the Line of Control. Pakistani military sources reported at least one civilian had been killed in what they called “unprovoked” attacks. Indian authorities earlier accused Pakistani forces of similar attacks that killed five Indian soldiers.

Speaking alongside the U.N. secretary-general, Sharif said he and Ban had discussed the current tensions.  

“We hope that the U.N. will play its due role in resolving the Kashmir dispute," he said. "The escalation of tensions along the Line of Control is a matter of concern for us and the secretary-general. Pakistan will continue to respond to the situation with restraint and responsibility in the hope that steps will be taken by India to help reduce tensions. We have to defuse tension and de-escalate the situation. Our objective is peace. For that what we need is more diplomacy.”

The U.N. secretary-general praised Prime Minister Sharif’s efforts to establish peace in the region, without referring to Pakistan’s tensions with India.

“I whole heartedly welcome all [your] efforts to tackle serious challenges at home and strengthen relations with your neighbors,” he said.

The Kashmir conflict dates back to 1947 when India and Pakistan gained independence from British colonial rule. Both countries claim the Himalayan region in its entirety. The dispute is blamed for causing two of their three wars and in 1999 again brought the nuclear-armed rivals to the brink of war.

There have been resolutions pending in the United Nations for more than six decades that propose a plebiscite allowing people on both sides of the frontier to decide whether they want to join Pakistan or India. But Islamabad and New Delhi in recent years have held peace talks to resolve the dispute bilaterally.

As part of those efforts, both sides declared a cease-fire on the line of control in 2003. The cease-fire largely held until more than a week ago when skirmishes broke out over the killing of five Indian soldiers in a remote district of Kashmir. Pakistan denies allegations its forces were responsible. 

Officials in both countries have accused each other of cease-fire violations since then, raising tensions that some worry could derail efforts to resume stalled wide-ranging peace talks.

The Kashmir escalation could also undermine an expected meeting next month between Prime Minister Sharif and his Indian counterpart, Manmohan Singh, on the sidelines of the annual U.N. General Assembly in New York.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs