ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office (FO) on Thusrday welcomed United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's offer to mediate Pak-India peace talks amid heightening tensions between the two countries after the killing of a Kashmiri militant in India-held Kashmir (IHK) sparked protests in the region.

"It is the UN's responsibility to intervene in the matter and get the issue resolved," FO Spokesman Nafees Zakaria said at a press briefing, adding that the body should play its role in order to get UN resolutions implemented.

"Good offices is a standing offer," UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said earlier, underscoring that the secretary general’s good offices worked only when both parties agreed to mediation.

The FO spokesman rejected the Indian government's view that ongoing unrest in IHK is an 'internal' matter and strongly condemned the fresh wave of violence and atrocities committed against Kashmiris by Indian security forces.

"India can not call the present situation of IHK an internal matter", Foreign Office (FO) Spokesman Nafees Zakaria said at a press briefing.

"Jammu and Kashmir is not an internal matter of India, it's a recognised issue under the United Nations," he added.

The spokesman also rejected Indian accusations of terrorism against the people of IHK. "Dialogue is the only option to resolve this issue," he said.

The death toll from clashes between Indian troops and protesters in the region has risen to 34 as massive protests continued despite imposition of an indefinite curfew in most parts of IHK after militant commander Burhan Wani was killed.

Paramilitary troops and police in riot gear patrolled villages and towns in the region. Most shops were shuttered, businesses were closed and cellphone services were suspended.

Indian forces used live ammunition, pellet guns and tear gas for crowd control in the region as protesters defied the curfew.

Pakistan on Sunday condemned what it termed the 'extra-judicial' killing of Wani, Hizbul Mujahideen's chief of operations, by Indian government forces.

Terming the condemnation an interference in India's internal affairs, India's Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Monday said Pakistan should refrain from issuing statements on the recent unrest in India-held Kashmir, adding that such statements "reflect Pakistan's continued attachment to terrorism and its usage as an instrument of state policy".

The FO also expressed Pakistan's concerns over the detention of Kashmiri leadership in IHK and called upon the Indian government to fulfill its human rights obligations as well as its commitments under UN resolutions.



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