Islamabad/Srinagar: 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.
Khan's comments came a day after Pakistan accused India of using illegal cluster bombs, killing two civilians and wounding 11, in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. India denied it had used such weapons.
"President Trump offered to mediate on Kashmir. This is the time to do so as situation deteriorates there and along the LOC (line of control) with new aggressive actions being taken by Indian occupation forces," Khan said on Twitter. "This has the potential to blow up into a regional crisis," he said.
India's foreign affairs ministry and the White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Khan's remarks.
In July, Trump told reporters that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked him during a meeting in Japan if he would like to be a mediator on Kashmir. India denied Modi ever asked for any mediation.
Tension has escalated in Kashmir Valley, particularly since Friday after the local officials issued an alert over possible militant attacks by Pakistan-based groups. Pakistan has rejected those assertions, but thousands of tourists, pilgrims and workers were asked to leave the region.
On Saturday, Pakistan also rejected India's claims that it had killed at least five Pakistan-based militants who tried to attack its forces near the border.
On Sunday, Kashmir remained on high alert with para-military forces deployed across major towns. A senior local official said a curfew was likely next week. However, the city police chief in Srinagar told Reuters he had no knowledge of a curfew.
Hospitals were on alert, with staff told not to leave the city without permission, officials said. The state government on Friday said it had intelligence inputs of militant attacks and called off the Amarnath Yatra, asking pilgrims and tourists to return home.
Britain, Germany, Australia and Israel have issued advisories discouraging their citizens from visiting the Valley, but a number foreign tourists arrived on Saturday, an official said. Some were not worried.
"Why should we be scared? It is a nice place and people are very helpful," said Molly, a Swiss tourist.
Nevertheless, tourism is bound to suffer as tensions rise. "All of a sudden tourists left... I have no work for the last two days. We are up for bad times," said Abdul Rashid Shah, 53, a boatman at the Dal Lake.(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed)