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Pakistan asks UN to help defuse tensions with India

AP , Tuesday 19 Feb 2019
Pakistan's new Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi listens during a news conference at the Foreign Ministry in Islamabad, Pakistan August 20, 2018 (Photo: Reuters)
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Pakistan recalled its ambassador from India and appealed Tuesday for U.N. help to de-escalate and defuse tensions with New Delhi after last week's attack in India's sector of disputed Kashmir that killed at least 40 Indian troops.

Tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbors soared following the attack in which a militant rammed an explosive-laden van into a paramilitary bus last Thursday. It was the worst attack against Indian government forces in Kashmir's history. On Monday, four Indian soldiers, three suspected militants, a police official and a civilian were killed as Indian soldiers searched for militants.

India blamed the attack on Pakistan and promised a "jaw-breaking response" while Pakistan warned India against linking it to the attack without an investigation.

According to Tuesday's statement, Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi sent a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres alleging that "for domestic political reasons, India has deliberately ratcheted up its hostile rhetoric against Pakistan and created a tense environment."

Also, Pakistani Ambassador Suhail Mahmood was asked Monday to return home from India, after New Delhi recalled its own envoy from Islamabad.

"It is with a sense of urgency that I draw your attention to the deteriorating security situation in our region resulting from the threat of use of force against Pakistan by India," Qureshi said.

There were expectations that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who concluded a two-day visit to Pakistan on Monday and travelled on to India, could encourage the two South Asian neighbors to try to resolve their issues through talks.

India's Ministry of External Affairs said it had no comment on Pakistan's letter to the U.N.

India and Pakistan each administer a part of Kashmir, but both claim the territory in its entirety. They have fought two of their three wars over it.

Rebels have been fighting Indian rule since 1989, demanding Indian-controlled Kashmir be united either under Pakistani rule or established as an independent country.

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