ISLAMABAD - Pakistan has asked India to accept UN chief Ban Ki-Moon’s offer to mediate between the two hostile neighbours over Kashmir but New Delhi is reluctant, The Nation learnt.

Senior officials at the foreign ministry said India was not ready to consider the option insisting Kashmir was a bilateral issue.

Last day, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon offered to act as mediator over the long-standing Kashmir dispute amid rising tensions between the two nuclear neighbours.

The two sides traded gunfire for three consecutive days until yesterday along the Line of Control - one of the most heavily militarised zones in the world that divides Kashmir state between Pakistan and India.

The latest exchange of fire came after Ban urged ‘both sides to exercise maximum restraint and take immediate steps to de-escalate the situation.’

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the UN chief was following the situation “with great concern” and “would welcome all proposals” or initiatives aimed at de-escalation.

Tensions remain high between the two countries following the killing of 18 Indian soldiers nearly two weeks ago.

UN chief’s offer came after Pakistan’s ambassador Maleeha Lodhi met the UN chief and urged him to personally intervene.

A senior official at the foreign ministry said the two sides had been in contact through the back-channels and Pakistan had asked India to accept the UN chief’s offer which could be result-oriented.

“India seemingly is not ready to consider the offer. They think there is no need for others’ interventions. We are still pushing for it,” he added.

Another official said India was reluctant to engage the UN chief because of its ‘weaker position’ over Kashmir. “With a mediator like Ban Ki-Moon, we will be at an advantageous position. India knows it so it is avoiding such options,” he maintained.

Earlier, Adviser to Prime Minister on Foreign Affair Sartaj Aziz said National Security Advisers (NSAs) of Pakistan and India had talked to each other over telephone and agreed to restore peace.

“Pakistan wants to reduce tensions on LoC and focus on Kashmir. The NSAs have talked over peace efforts,” Aziz said. He alleged India wanted to divert world’s attention from Kashmir by escalating tensions.

Hours later, NSA Nasser Khan Janjua presented an exhaustive report on the LoC situation at the All Parties Conference called by PM Nawaz Sharif, saying India violated the control line thrice within the three days.

Think-tank advises strategic

patience towards India

A think-tank Strategic Vision Institute yesterday urged the government to observe ‘strategic patience’ towards India and avoid being drawn into its escalation gambit.

The recommendation from SVI came as the government convened a series of high-level meetings on tensions with India in the aftermath of New Delhi’s claim of having conducted ‘surgical strikes’ across the LoC.

The recommendations were based on the proceedings of a round table ‘Indian Strategic Culture and Force Posture Development in the Light of the Current Tensions’.

The SVI was of the opinion that India’s escalatory posture was because of the uprising in Kashmir, which attracted world attention.

The think-tank suggested that Pakistan should continue its diplomatic and political support for the freedom movement and highlight Indian excesses in occupied Kashmir, which had resulted in deaths of about 110 innocent people and injuries to some 15,000 others, 160 of whom have been permanently blinded because of indiscriminate use of pellet guns by Indian security forces.

Former Defence Secretary Lt-Gen (r) Naeem Khalid Lodhi said surgical strikes, if ever India carries out, would be taken as an act of war and would be accordingly reciprocated.

He believed that Pakistan’s ‘Full Spectrum Deterrence’ capability deters India from undertaking any military misadventure against Pakistan.

“Pakistan has over the past 5-6 years developed a response to Indian cold start doctrine, whose efficacy is proven,” he said in a reference to tactical nuclear weapons.

General Lodhi said that public pressure, big army or big country syndrome, and Indian PM Narendra Modi’s extremist mindset were some of the reasons behind Delhi’s heightened belligerence.

Nuclear expert Dr Adil Sultan contended the deterrence capability has worked otherwise India would have gone for military option.

Dr Hussain Soherwordi, a professor at University of Peshawar, blamed Pakistan’s poor foreign policy for the problems being faced by the country in the region and beyond.

Former ambassador Fauzia Nasreen said Indian actions were far from that of a responsible state.

SVI President Dr Zafar Iqbal Cheema said Pakistan was militarily well equipped to maintain an adequate conventional and nuclear deterrence equilibrium vis-à-vis India or to respond to any hostile action.

He held the view that while Pakistan should not lower its guard against possible aggression by India, the government should devote its energies to making the world more receptive to our narrative and empathetic to the sufferings of Kashmiri people.