UN appeals to India, Pakistan to exercise restraint as tensions mount in Kashmir

'UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan has observed and reported an increase in military activity at LoC in recent days'

Indian paramilitary troopers stand guard at a roadblock at Maisuma locality in Srinagar on August 4, 2019. Photo: AFP

UNITED NATIONS: The United Nations has appealed to India and Pakistan to exercise "maximum restraint" amid escalating tensions between the two countries along the Line of Control (LoC) in the disputed Kashmir region.

"The UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan observed and reported an increase in military activity at the Line of Control in recent days," UN Secretary-General's spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said in a statement e-mailed to APP UN correspondent in response to a question.

"The United Nations appeals to both sides to exercise maximum restraint to ensure that the situation does not further deteriorate," the statement added.

UNMOGIP was deployed in January 1949 to supervise the ceasefire between India and Pakistan in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. While Pakistan allows UN observers to monitor the LoC, India does not.

The group, based in Rawalpindi, is composed of 44 military observers, supported by 25 international civilian personnel and 47 local civilian staff.

Indian authorities placed large parts of the disputed region under lockdown early Monday, while the government sent in tens of thousands of additional troops.

Communications were cut, with private mobile networks, internet services and telephone landlines cut, an AFP reporter said.

Before the network disruptions, senior former and current Kashmiri political leaders tweeted that they had been put under house arrest.

"As per the order, there shall be no movement of public and all educational institutions shall also remain closed," the state government ordered for Srinagar and surrounding areas in a statement obtained by AFP.

"There will be a complete bar on holding any kind of public meetings or rallies during the period of operation of this order." 

In Islamabad, Prime Minister Imran Khan condemned India's use of cluster munitions on civilian population living close to LoC and called on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to take note of the "international threat to peace and security".

"I condemn India's attack across LoC on innocent civilians and its use of cluster munitions in violation of international humanitarian law and its own commitments under the 1983 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons," the Pakistani leader said via Twitter. "UNSC must take note of this international threat to peace and security."

"It is time to end the long night of suffering for the people of occupied Kashmir. They must be allowed to exercise their right to self-determination according to UNSC resolutions. The only road to peace and security in South Asia runs through a peaceful and just settlement of Kashmir," the prime minister added.