Ilhan Omar made history as the very first elected US official to engage with members of Pakistan’s new coalition government. She also visited the disputed Pakistan cccupied Kashmir which prompted an angry response from India.
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India’s Ministry of External Affairs slammed Rep. Ilhan Omar’s visit to Pakistan this week, labeling it “condemnable.”
“We have noted that she has visited a part of Indian Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir that is currently illegally occupied by Pakistan,” ministry spokesman Arindam Bagchi said of the Minnesota Democrat during a Wednesday press conference. “Let me just say that if such a politician wishes to practice her narrow-minded politics at home … that may be her business.”
“But violating our territorial integrity and sovereignty in its pursuit makes it ours,” he continued. “And we think this visit is condemnable.”
India and Pakistan have fought three wars and several minor armed confrontations over Kashmir since earning independence from Britain in 1947, none of which has proven decisive. India governs the majority of the region, with Pakistan and China controlling the remainder.
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Omar had already visited the Pakistan side of the Line of Control, a cease-fire line in the region, and told reporters that her colleagues in Congress should pay greater attention to the long-running dispute.
“I don’t believe that it is being talked about to the extent it needs to be in Congress and within the administration,” the far-left “Squad” member said, according to Reuters.
As per the Express Tribune daily, Omar then stated that the House Foreign Relations Committee, on which she serves, would investigate charges of human rights breaches by Indian forces in the region.
In Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad, the Minnesota Democrat met with Prime Minister Shahbad Sharif, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, and President Arif Alvi the day before.
With her visit, Omar made history as the very first elected US official to engage with members of Pakistan’s new coalition government, which assumed power last week after Imran Khan was ousted in a no-confidence vote.
According to the Associated Press, following Omar’s visit, Alvi stated in a statement that he hoped “constructive engagements” between Pakistan and the US would “promote peace and development in the region.”
Khar also praised the meeting with Omar, saying she vowed to “cement” connections between the two countries and that they had previously “benefited” from cooperating.