United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday urged India and Pakistan to de-escalate tension and to exercise maximum restraint in the wake of the terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir last week PTI reported.

“The Secretary General stresses the importance for both sides to exercise maximum restraint and take immediate steps to de-escalation, and his good offices are always available should both sides ask,” Guterres’ spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said.

Soon after the attack, Guterres had strongly condemned it, and said those involved should face justice.

Dujarric said Guterres was deeply concerned at the increase in tensions between the two neighbours. He said Guterres’ office had not yet received any letter from Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, as reported in the media. However, Dujarric confirmed that Pakistan’s mission at the UN had requested for the meeting with Guterres.

Reports on Tuesday said that Qureshi had written to Guterres, urging the United Nations to step in to “defuse tensions” with India after the terror attack.

Rupert Colville, the spokesperson for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights said in Geneva that the high commissioner, Michelle Bachelet, is saddened by the attack. “The high commissioner strongly condemns the suicide bomb attack against Indian security forces in Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir on 14 February and calls on authorities to bring those responsible to justice,” Colville said.

The spokesperson added that Bachelet was also concerned about reports from India that some people are using the attack as “justification for threats and potential acts of violence”, by targeting Kashmiri people living in other parts of the country.

“We acknowledge actions taken by the Indian authorities to tackle these incidents, and we hope that the government will continue to take steps to protect people from all forms of harm that may be directed at them on account of their ethnicity or identity,” Colville added.

Forty personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force were killed in the attack on February 14, for which Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed claimed responsibility. A day after the attack, India revoked Pakistan’s Most Favoured Nation tag, and said it would isolate Islamabad globally. Islamabad has refuted allegations that it was connected with the attack.

On Tuesday, China asked both India and Pakistan to exercise restraint and engage in dialogue. The same day, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan broke his silence and claimed that New Delhi has blamed Islamabad for the attack without any evidence.