UNITED NATIONS: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has condemned the ongoing killings in Indian held Kashmir where security forces have been trying to crush weeks of anti-government protests by Kashmiri civilians. He urged India and Pakistan to settle the Kashmir dispute and other issues through dialogue.

“I deplore the loss of life and hope that all efforts will be made to avoid further violence,” the secretary-general said in his letter.

In a reply he sent in response to a letter from Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif informing the UN chief about the deteriorating situation in Kashmir and the large-scale violations of human rights being committed by Indian security forces, Ban Ki-moon said, “He was ready to offer his good offices, should it be requested by both sides, to facilitate dialogue in order to achieve a negotiated settlement,”.

In his letter sent on August 5th, Prime Minister Sharif called for efforts to end the persistent and egregious violation of basic human rights of the Kashmiri people and also to implement the decades-old UN Security Council resolutions providing a framework for the settlement of Kashmir dispute through a plebiscite.

“I appreciate the continued commitment of Pakistan to the peaceful resolution of the Kashmir dispute for the sake of regional peace and security, as you reaffirmed in your letter,” Ban Ki-moon said in his letter. “The United Nations remains convinced that it is only through dialogue that the outstanding issues between Pakistan and India, including on Kashmir, can be addressed.”

The secretary-general said that he looked forward to meeting the Pakistani leader again during the upcoming seventy-first session of the United Nations General Assembly to “discuss matters of common interest.”