ISLAMABAD - Pakistan People’s Party chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said yesterday that Kashmir was a dangerous flashpoint in South Asia.

In a letter to the United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon, he said the UN was “not only the guarantor of fundamental human rights of peoples anywhere in the world, but also responsible for taking pro-active measures to ensure peace in regions prone to conflict such as the South Asian region.”

The violence in Kashmir is part of an ongoing conflict that dates back to 1947, when Pakistan and India gained independence from the British rule but failed to agree on which the country would get Kashmir. The two countries have fought two of their three wars over their claims to the mostly Muslim region, while each currently administers in parts.

Since the 1990s, more than 68,000 people have been killed in Kashmir’s uprising against the Indian rule and the subsequent Indian military crackdown.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has announced to observe ‘black day’ on July 19 (today) against the atrocities in Kashmir. The foreign office and the political parties are also active to highlight the excesses by the occupant forces in the held territory.

In his letter, Bilawal said the PPP wanted to draw the attention of the UN chief towards the increasing tempo and scale of human rights violations in Kashmir, particularly since July 8 when the Indian security forces used disproportionate force to indiscriminately kill political activists.

During the past few days, he said, more than 50 people had been killed and thousands injured, “whose only fault has been to demand their right to self-determination guaranteed to them by the United Nations over six decades ago. The graphic media reports speak loudly of the atrocities in Kashmir at the hands of Indian security forces.”

The PPP chief wrote: “I am sure you agree that Kashmir is a dangerous flashpoint in the South Asia region. Regardless of which government is in power the people of Pakistan are committed to provide moral, political and diplomatic support to the people of Kashmir in their just struggle for their inalienable right of self determination. The over seven hundred thousand Indian troops stationed in Kashmir for the past decades have not been able to suppress the yearning of the Kashmiri people to achieve what has long been promised to them by the international community, including through an important instrument of UN Resolution. Furthermore, I worry that any conflagration or ramping up of tension also runs the risk of threatening regional peace and stability.”

He said Pakistan had been in the forefront of seeking non-military solutions to this vexed conflict and sought the UN chief’s good offices in taking note of the egregious violations of the Kashmiri people’s right to self-determination.

He added: “I therefore, urge you to please take notice of the state-sponsored violence in Kashmir and prevail upon the Indian authorities to immediately cease all such actions that violate the human rights, dignities and fundamental entitlements of the Kashmiri people.”