President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference on trade with the European Union in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington. Image Credit: NYT

Islamabad: Tensions between India and Pakistan over Kashmir have the potential to blow up into a regional crisis and it is the right time for US President Donald Trump to mediate, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Sunday.

“President Trump offered to mediate on Kashmir. This is the time to do so as situation deteriorates there and along the LOC with new aggressive actions being taken” by Indian forces, Imran said on Twitter, referring to the heavily militarised de facto border that divides the two parts of Kashmir between India and Pakistan. “This has the potential to blow up into a regional crisis,” he said.

Imran’s comments come a day after Pakistan accused India of using illegal cluster bombs, killing two civilians and wounding 11, in the disputed Kashmir region. The Indian Army termed as “lies and deceit” Pakistan’s assertion that Indian troops used cluster bombs targeting civilians along the Line of Control (LoC).

President Trump offered to mediate on Kashmir. This is the time to do so as situation deteriorates there and along the LOC.

- Imran Khan, Pakistan Prime Minister

The comments came as Imran chaired a meeting of the National Security Committee to hold consultations with the country’s top civil and military leadership over the sudden spike in tensions with India. The NSC meeting was attended by Defence Minister Pervez Khattak, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmoud Qureshi, Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa and other top officials. Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said that the political leadership of Pakistan needs to come on the same page and “send a message of unity and solidarity”. Also, Qureshi on Sunday asked Organisation of Islamic Cooperation Secretary General Dr Yousuf Ahmad Al Othaimeen to take notice of the situation in Kashmir, state-run Radio Pakistan reported.

In another tweet, Imran said the people of Kashmir “must be allowed to exercise their right to self-determination according to UNSC resolutions.”

“The only road to peace & security in South Asia runs through a peaceful & just settlement of Kashmir,” he tweeted.

Last month, Trump had made a stunning claim that Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked him to mediate on the vexed issue during their meeting in Japan, evoking a sharp reaction from India which denied Modi making any such request.

Pakistan Army denies Indian claim of cross-LoC incursion

The Pakistan Army has denied India’s claim about action by Pakistani army regulars and militants across the Line of Control and that their bodies were lying on the Indian side.

The Indian Army said on Saturday that it had foiled an attack by Pakistan’s Border Action Team (BAT) on a forward post along the Line of Control in the Keran sector of Jammu and Kashmir, killing five to seven intruders. Pakistan Army spokesman Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor denied the Indian claim as “mere propaganda” and said that India was “trying to divert attention of the world form the situation of Kashmir.”

Similarly, the Foreign Office also issued a statement rejecting the claims by India. “We reject Indian allegations of cross-LOC action by Pakistan and possession of bodies,” the Foreign Office said.