ISLAMABAD - UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon yesterday stepped into play his role to stop bloodshed in Held Kashmir and encourage dialogue between Pakistan and India.

In response to a letter from Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, in which he had apprised the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, about the grave situation in Kashmir, the UN chief offered his good offices to bring India over the dialogue table.

“The UN SG has, inter-alia, deplored the loss of life and hoped that all efforts will be made to avoid further violence,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement citing Ki-Moon’s reply to Nawaz Sharif.

The Prime Minister had counted large-scale violations of human rights in Held Kashmir by the Indian security forces that had resulted in dozens of deaths – mostly of the civilians.

The Foreign Ministry said Ki-Moon had once again offered his good offices to facilitate dialogue for a negotiated settlement of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute.

The Secretary General also appreciated the continued commitment of Pakistan to the peaceful resolution of the Kashmir dispute for the sake of regional peace and security.

He said the UN remained convinced it was only through dialogue that the outstanding issues between Pakistan and India, including on Kashmir, could be addressed.

Pakistan ha s taken up the issue at the international level seeking support to stop the killings in Kashmir and make progress to resolve the issue peacefully.

Amid the Pakistan’s Kashmir campaign, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi blamed Pakistan of committing ‘atrocities’ in Balochistan and elsewhere in the country.

Ban Ki-Moon condemned the killings of Kashmiri protesters by Indian security forces in occupied Kashmir.

In his letter to Nawaz Sharif, he called for India and Pakistan to solve the problem of Kashmir jointly and offered cooperation in that regard.

“India and Pakistan should solve the conflict of Kashmir together,” he wrote, adding, “The United Nations is ready to offer its services for that to happen.”

Ban Ki-Moon also expressed the hope that efforts would be made to stem violence against Kashmiris in Occupied Kashmir.

He appreciated Pakistan’s role for maintaining peace in the region as well as the country’s efforts to solve the issue of Kashmir in a peaceful manner.

Ban Ki-Moon said that the resolution of the issue of Kashmir was imperative for regional peace.

He expressed the desire to meet Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in the upcoming United Nations General Assembly meeting.

SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT AT THE UN ADDS: The UN has been slow in reacting to the carnage in Indian-occupied Kashmir reportedly because of some intense pressure brought on by India on countries around the world and international bodies, saying it will exacerbate the already tense situation in the disputed region. New Delhi’s main argument has been that the Kashmiri youth leader, Burhan Wani, was a terrorist and that the protests over his killing were being encouraged by Pakistan.

The protests in Kashmir erupted on July 8, the day Wani was shot dead by Indian troops. But the first formal reaction from the UN chief came through a statement issued by his spokesman on July 12. “The Secretary-General is closely following the recent clashes in Kashmir. He regrets the reported loss of dozens of lives and the injuries to many others. He calls on all parties to exercise maximum restraint to avoid further violence and hopes that all concerns would be addressed through peaceful means,” the statement said.

Since July 12, the United Nations said nothing publicly despite questions repeatedly asked by Pakistani correspondents during the regular noon briefings at UN Headquarters in New York. When asked about the escalating death toll and tensions in Kashmir as well as between India and Pakistan, a standard answer was offered, “The secretary-general has already made a statement.”

No condemnation was made of the killing of Kashmiri youth, especially the use of deadly pellet guns, by Indian security forces - the death toll now stands at more than 70 - until the secretary-general’s letter dated Aug 12 to PM Nawaz Sharif, which became public on Friday, in which he DEPLORED the loss of life.

Meanwhile, the Geneva office of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights offered no comments on Pakistan Foreign office’s statement that Islamabad was open to international observers in Azad Kashmir. Islamabad’s spokesman was reacting to UN rights chief’s appeal to India and Pakistan to grant his office access to Indian-administered Kashmir and Pakistan-administered Kashmir, citing “grave concerns” over human rights abuses in the disputed region.

In a Wednesday statement, High Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein said he has been working to get observers to the parts of the Kashmir valley since violence flared there in July.

Asked for reaction to Islamabad’s willingness to receive independent observers, an OHCHR spokesperson said Friday, “We cannot comment until we have something official from Islamabad.”

There has been no official response from India but media reports have suggested that New Delhi will reject any move to send observers to Indian-occupied Kashmir.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is scheduled to address the 193-member UN General Assembly on Sept 21 and his spokesmen has said he will forcefully speak out on the decades-old dispute.