Pakistan PM pledges restraint over Kashmir

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan's prime minister pledged Wednesday to respond to rising tensions in disputed Kashmir with "restraint and responsibility" as officials accused India of killing another civilian by firing across the border.

Nawaz Sharif said it was vital to defuse the recent escalation of tension in the Himalayan territory, which has been the cause of two wars between the neighbours.

Skirmishes have flared across the heavily-militarised Line of Control (LoC), the de facto border in Kashmir, since five Indian soldiers were killed last week in an ambush which India blamed on the Pakistan army.

In the latest incident to raise the temperature between the nuclear-armed neighbours, Pakistani military officials said "unprovoked Indian shelling" across the LoC had killed a 60-year-old man and injured his teenage daughter.

After talks with the visiting UN chief Ban Ki-moon, Sharif said the rising antagonism was a matter of great concern.

"Pakistan will continue to respond to the situation with restraint and responsibility in the hope that steps will be taken by India to reduce tensions," he said at a joint news conference with Ban.

"We have to defuse tension and de-escalate the situation. Our objective is peace. For that, what we need is more diplomacy." India and Pakistan both administer part of Muslim-majority Kashmir but claim the mountainous territory in full.

The two sides agreed to a ceasefire along the LoC in November 2003, but there have been sporadic clashes in Kashmir with each side accusing the other of violations.

A deadly flare-up along the LoC in January brought a halt to peace talks that had only just resumed following a hiatus sparked by the 2008 attacks in Mumbai that killed 166 people. India blamed Pakistani militants for that attack.