ISLAMABAD - Former president Asif Ali Zardari yesterday said peace in the region would remain elusive without the resolution of Kashmir dispute in accordance with the UN resolutions.

He said the UN resolution calls for a plebiscite to determine the wishes of the people of Jammu and Kashmir who have been facing the Indian brutalities.

“Kashmir is the unfinished agenda of the partition and the international community has pledged to give its people the right to choose their destiny -  a right that cannot be washed away by intimidation and repression,” he said in a statement.

His remarks came against the backdrop of deteriorating Pakistan-India ties and an escalating border tension in the wake of the September 18 attack that killed 19 Indian soldiers in Uri.

Days after the attack, the Indian army claimed it carried out surgical strikes across the Line of Control and targeted seven bases in an operation that inflicted “significant casualties.”

Zardari’s son, Pakistan People’s Party chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, has been raising the Kashmir issue and attended a meeting called by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on the issue. The PPP supported the government’s efforts to expose Indian excesses in Kashmir.

Diplomats engaged in back-channel talks with India and other countries said the threat of war had largely subsided but the normalcy will take time to return.

Zardari urged the international community to act decisively before it is too late to stop the atrocities perpetrated by the authorities on the people of Jammu and Kashmir for demanding their right of self determination.

“One measure of repression in Kashmir is the most inhuman treatment meted out to political prisoners,” the former president said.

Zardari said Yasin Malik had been languishing in prison in solitary confinement ever since the death of Burhan Wani on July 9, 2016 and his health had been continuously deteriorating.

“The doctors have described his condition as dangerously at risk and urged the authorities to shift him to intensive care - a plea that has fallen on the deaf ears of the authorities,” he said.

Zardari said it was the responsibility of the international community to step in and stop repression of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and the grotesquely inhuman treatment meted out to political prisoners.